Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Colt O'Brien Sees the Light by George Matthew Cole

Published by Dog Ear Publishing
Reviewed for Review the Book

Colt O'Brien is short, and it bothers him. He is aggressive, a good soccer player, and can't seem to please his father in any way. In his efforts to stand out, he wears vividly coloured clothing. He is a senior at high school and has a twin sister who seems to do no wrong in their father's eyes. Four things compensate for his father's lack of understanding: his sister's and mother's support and love, his natural ability to fix computers, his friends, and the support of his principal. There is one other thing that sometimes is a help and sometimes a hindrance. He has a psychic sensitivity, as does his mother. His father, on the other hand, is not able to show his pride nor support, leaving Colt to feel invisible to him.

This book is unique in its format. Each chapter begins with an email. The interplay between the characters is important in understanding what Colt is all about. George Matthew Cole is able to channel in to some of the basic psychological needs and character of teenagers, as well as how the adults in their world can affect them for better or worse. The anger and unworthiness Colt feels, and the feeling of never being able to please his father, are problems that many teens deal with daily.

A new course is offered for Microsoft certification through two parents and in coordination with Mr. Towne, the principal. Suddenly, Colt feels as though his last thread of pride in himself is about to be taken away when two younger students become certified. Isn't he the prime computer expert at the school? Yet, for reasons known only to himself and the reader, he doesn't pursue this certification. He thinks he knows all there is to know about computers. How wrong he is. His father is coming down hard on him about "wasting" his time with computers, he should be pursuing a profession and working toward getting into college. His girlfriend has the same attitude about computers, feeling he spends too much time on them and not her and becomes an ex-girlfriend because of it.

When a new girl comes into his life, everything changes. They are completely attuned to one another and what's more, she is interested in computers. When Colt decides to join the computer group, Amy is right with him, helping him study, and providing support and encouragement. Colt is finally reaching toward his potential.

I felt the storyline was good, the many problems and joy that teens feel, the disappointments and letdowns, the overblown self-pride coupled with insecurity are vividly drawn in this book. The author, in this his debut novel, has immersed us into the life of teens and their struggles. The book is a fairly quick read, but there is a lot adults could learn from it, even though it is a young adult novel.

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