Official Review: That Place of Knowledge

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hsimone
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Official Review: That Place of Knowledge

Post by hsimone »

[Following is the official OnlineBookClub.org review of "That Place of Knowledge" by Philip Alan Shalka.]
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4 out of 4 stars
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Is there a place where you feel most comfortable? A place where you can be yourself and not worry about what others think of you and what you’re capable of? Let’s follow Philip and his assistant dog, Sabre, to a place where everything seems perfect in the short story, That Place of Knowledge by Philip Alan Shalka.

Sabre is an autism assistance dog whose companion is Philip. This loyal dog assists the teenage boy in the best way a dog can – by listening. One day, the two enter a swimming pool that leads to a hidden trap door. The trap door then leads to a secret city, in Ancient Greek, which is a more relaxing city where Sabre takes note of Philip's comfort level. Deep conversations are held between Philip and the famous Greek philosopher, Aristotle, that will leave the reader wanting more.

Having the perspective be of the dog allowed the author to have his narrator be more of a background listener and really let Philip shine. Though we get to know a bit of Sabre and the encouraging Aristotle, Philip is the one that takes the lead here.

While reading, the reader could guess that Philip is nonverbal and has difficulties in communicating and demonstrating his capabilities in his own world. But, when he enters the Ancient Greek world where everything is in order and just right for Philip, he can talk and show what he can do. Themes of accepting yourself, persistence, and finding happiness within yourself creates a very touching plot.

One of my favorite aspects of the book, aside from the general concept, are the use of the corridors. Philip enters these corridors with his best bud, Sabre, through which, he can explore the corridor of Math, or perhaps Science, and maybe even politics. The options are endless and the doorway is just the beginning. I can easily see these corridors as ones that are present in Philip’s ever-expanding mind. Just like Aristotle tells this young teenager, this is just the beginning, there is so much more to learn.

Though there were some commas missing here and there, the book was written well and concise. Much of the book is in dialogue form, which really suits Philip’s characters since, as stated before, he is nonverbal in his world. I can only imagine how much he would like to express his opinions in his real world.

Overall, I enjoyed every minute of this thought-provoking read and can really see how this may help those who don’t understand autism gain a bit more perspective. I used to teach children with autism and this book spoke to my heart. On purpose, I left this note for the end – the author is a young man who has autism and was determined to write a short story, and I’m happy to say he wrote a really good one. I gladly give this a 4 out of 4 stars rating and recommend it to mature middle schoolers, older students, and adults who would like to understand autism a bit more.

******
That Place of Knowledge
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Post by sam letson »

Insightful review, as usual, hsimone. What a clever idea to put the autistic person in a more structured, secure world, in the presence of one of the world's greatest minds, a mind as organized as the Greek world that he both inhabited and helped to create.
And to dd the interesting perspective of man's greatest friend and companion. I definitely will be on the look out for this book.

-- 05 Dec 2016, 13:37 --

Forgot to add: YOU WAITED TO ADD THE LAST BIT OF INFORMATION! Great decision. Put a bright rainbow over an already cloudless review.
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Post by hsimone »

Thank you for your kind words, sam letson. It really means a lot to me. It was such a clever idea to take Philip to the Greek world, where it is more structured and it made sense to this young boy.

I thought saving it until the end would be best. I didn't want people to judge the quality of the book based on the fact that the young author has autism, but I also wanted to acknowledge what a beautiful story Mr. Shalka created because of his personal experience with autism.

Thank you, again, for your generous and kind thoughts. :)
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Post by sam letson »

AT THE END! I agree. Great. strategic decision. Completely changes the perspective of the person who is reading the review. I look forward to your next review.
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hsimone
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Post by hsimone »

Thank you once again, sam letson. I'm working on my next one. :)
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Post by bookowlie »

Another great review for what sounds like a very interesting book. I enjoy the little tidbits hat the author is autistic and was determined to write a story, and that you used to teach autistic children. This book seems like the perfect fit for you. I love books that have a dog as a central character so I am going to check this one out.
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Post by hsimone »

Thank you, bookowlie! It was definitely fitting that I found this book. If you do check it out, I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. :)
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Post by kimmyschemy06 »

Sounds like a great read. There's a couple of things I like about this book, first is the encounter between the boy Phillip and Aristotle and the corridors of various subjects the boy explore. They sound so interesting. Great job on the review :)
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Post by hsimone »

Thank you, kimmyschemy06! I liked those two aspects of the book, as well. It was a very simple, yet worthwhile read for me. :)
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Post by MarisaRose »

What a well crafted review! I am automatically drawn to this book because of the relationship between the main character and his dog. As a dog lover I can understand the importance of this type of relationship. Like others have said, I greatly enjoyed your decision to wait until the end of the review to mention that the author has autism. I think this fact will actually add to the authenticity of the book's perspective. Thank you for the review :)
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Post by hsimone »

Thank you, MarisaRose! I am a dog lover too (if you didn't say so, I would have been able to tell by the adorable picture as your avatar), so I was drawn to their relationship as well. I thought it was appropriate to wait to the end to mention that the author has autism, and I'm glad people have agreed with that decision. :)
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Post by LivreAmour217 »

Wonderful review! This sounds like a touching story, and it has been added to my reading list!
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Post by Angelalka »

It was a good story for the readers . Which is totally related to the human mind . And also express the mentality of a human. Who want to experience a world where they find another type of environment.. writer of the story was greatly expressed the feelings of the human being with his story .. :D
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Post by jamesabr »

This is very in-depth and well-thought review. I actually want to read That Place of Knowledge now. I think the perspective from the dog would be interesting to read, and your review highlighted this profoundly. :D
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Post by hsimone »

LivreAmour217 wrote:Wonderful review! This sounds like a touching story, and it has been added to my reading list!
Thank you, LivreAmour217! It was very touching. When you get a chance to read it, I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

-- 20 Dec 2016, 22:36 --
Angelalka wrote:It was a good story for the readers . Which is totally related to the human mind . And also express the mentality of a human. Who want to experience a world where they find another type of environment.. writer of the story was greatly expressed the feelings of the human being with his story .. :D
Thank you for your thoughts, Angelalka! I agree, this read does relate to the human mind. Philip's exploration all happened in his mind, which I think added a nice touch to the story. I really enjoyed this read too. :)

-- 20 Dec 2016, 22:37 --
jamesabr wrote:This is very in-depth and well-thought review. I actually want to read That Place of Knowledge now. I think the perspective from the dog would be interesting to read, and your review highlighted this profoundly. :D
Thank you, jamesabr, for your kind words. :) If you do get the chance to read it, I hope you enjoy it too!
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