Friday, May 4, 2012

Review on "Alex and the New Shell" Daralyn Brody, CreateSpace, 2011.

It is a 23 page fiction about a hermit crab that outgrew its shell and accidentally knocks off the pearl of an oyster called Ollie in the quest for a new one. He then undertakes the excursion to search, find and return the pearl to its owner.  During this expedition, the crab meets other friends and sympathizers who helped him to find the pearl until he found and returned it.  Alex and the New Shell recalls another book The Call of the Wild (1989) since they explore almost similar themes like the inextricable retiary destiny that mankind finds himself, the constant struggle between primitive instincts and social probity and decorum, the contrast between civilization and the wilderness, and the pendulum state of mankind; now in a group and later in solitude (P. 8, 17, 19).
Alex’s expedition is metaphorical of the latency stage in which we shed away what we get and become even more beautiful as we grow mature explaining perhaps why most people dislike high school pictures. Therefore, the book will be meaningful to children and teenagers.
Deeper, his expedition is symbolic of our spiritual journey whereby we are born in a sinful state and all through our life, we are on a quest to remake ourselves perfect and acquire a more beautiful outer body like Alex. Consequently, the book satisfies an older audience. The shell again is more symbolic of the burden every human being carries. It reminds us of The Pilgrim’s Progress (2011). That burden both physical and spiritual follows Alex everywhere he goes as he realizes that everyone has their own burden even if not the same in nature. Someone in the world is going through something as you see that with Ollie (P. 9), Sandy (P. 11), and Gary (17).
Brody, in succinct tropes and personifications employs the symbols of the crab and other sea animals to convey universal truths.
The application of personification takes the narration from fiction to realism almost as if it is a biography of a little child called Alex and no more Arabian nights. Alex and the New Shell is a social satire in which Brody attempts to speak out against the disappearance of simple etiquettes like greeting those you meet along your way, assisting those in need, and returning to the owner things borrowed or misplaced. Nonetheless, she emphasizes that there are still good people as we see Gary grouper willingly accepts to help Alex take him to Ollie (P. 17).  
Almost as in Moby Dick (1999): man is constantly struggling against fate in the inextricable web of survival of the fittest in which the stronger species eliminate the weaker species as you read Alex say, “ I should hurry up and find a bigger shell that I can hide in before somebody comes along and tries to eat me (P. 5).” Alex has to hide from the pelican  and then menaced by Sandy (a seagull) which is the number one destroyer and killer of crabs. Alex finding a new shell is his complete and total departure from the old to a new more fanciful Alex (P. 23).
Furthermore, Alex and the New Shell's illustration produces a totality of effect that exposes humor and setting.You can find the book at CreateSpace, Amazon, or Barnes and Nobel.

Until then, I will recommend to everyone, church, or schools who are interested in didactic fiction.

St Arrey of Ntenako.  

“Bonyfish beware because the same net that caught the jawless fish, caught the cartilaginous fish” (Hamilton Ayuk). Beware earthly paradise seekers because there is a serpent in every paradise"(Hamilton Ayuk). "It is not how well you know a person; it is how well you treat them that they will live longer and happier with you." Idle people write, idler people read, and idlest people read and whine that idle people are taking their time (Hamilton Ayuk).

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