Sunday, December 5, 2010
The Marbury Lens by Andrew Smith
The Marbury Lens:
Sixteen-year-old Jack gets drunk and is in the wrong place at the wrong time. He is kidnapped. He escapes, narrowly. The only person he tells is his best friend, Conner. When they arrive in London as planned for summer break, a stranger hands Jack a pair of glasses. Through the lenses, he sees another world called Marbury.
There is war in Marbury. It is a desolate and murderous place where Jack is responsible for the survival of two younger boys. Conner is there, too. But he’s trying to kill them.
Meanwhile, Jack is falling in love with an English girl, and afraid he’s losing his mind.
Conner tells Jack it’s going to be okay.
But, it’s not.
Andrew Smith has written his most beautiful and personal novel yet, as he explores the nightmarish outer limits of what trauma can do to our bodies and our minds.
Andrew Smith grabbed my attention from the very beginning of this book. Although the cover image isn’t exactly how the glasses are described in the book, it definitely drew me in too. The world of Marbury and the everyday are intertwined through Andrews amazing writing. This incredible personal story gets under your skin and stays there long after you have finished the book. The story flowed flawlessly and I despised everything that interrupted my time with the book. I loved how there were scenes that sometimes overlapped in both worlds, although they were drastically different. Marbury is a barren wasteland filled with graphic depictions of death and destruction, and is definitely not for the faint of heart. I truly enjoyed the dynamic friendship between Jack and Conner, after the terrible ordeal that Jack went through, in his traumatized state of mind; he could only turn to Conner, and his friend was there for him. Things take a turn for the worse when Conner decides a little payback is in order for the man who hurt Jack. In his attempts to escape his own memories, Jack goes to England to visit a school and there he meets a stranger who gives him the glasses that take him to Marbury. As Jack traverses both worlds he becomes lost to what is real and his relationships, new and old, start falling apart. Jack becomes addicted to Marbury and he learns of a connection to his past that is a lot closer then he could have imagined.