3 out of 4 stars
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Falling to Fly by Jason Pednault and Matheu DeSilva is an autobiographical work describing pivotal events in Jason's life. As a boy growing up in America, Jason - and his sister Kendra - must come to terms with the divorce of their parents. Jason finds it particularly hard adapting to the idea of his mum and dad having new partners. Like his father, Jason has the spirit of a wild adventurer. He loves nature and spends much of his time outdoors. One of his fascinations is snakes, and he collects several, keeping them in his bedroom. One day, while snake-watching, he happens across herpetologist Thelma Fraser, who offers him a job. Her collection of reptiles, spiders, and scorpions is simply enormous. But it is the time Jason spends in Alaska with his father that really shapes his future, and his growing obsession with prospecting for gold.
Though this is Jason's story, it was ghost-written by Matheu DeSilva. The writing is of high quality, with some excellent descriptive passages. For example: "Lush vegetation glistened and sparkled beneath me, and a dense canopy of rolling green stretched into the distance. Between and far below was what looked like a slash of a roiling cappuccino: the Jatanyacu river." I found this book particularly easy and enjoyable to read, with great hooks used to pull the reader through the story, foreshadowing the next dramatic event.
This is a fascinating real-life adventure, rich with interesting events. Jason has an incredible sense of adventure, drawn to nature in all its glorious forms, from snakes to bears to gold prospecting. We get a sense of the beauty of the Amazonian rainforest and the frightening majesty of the Jatanyacu river in Ecuador. We also meet a number of colourful native characters, some less pleasant than others. There is always plenty to keep the reader interested.
Some early passages in the book about one part of Jason's childhood are genuinely frightening. Knowing it is a true story makes it even worse, adding a terrifying paranormal element for horror fans. Overall, I found Jason's journey fascinating and was never quite sure where it was all heading until the end. There is definite satisfaction in the final outcome, making this an intriguing and worthwhile true story.
On the negative side, though this book is well-edited (better than most I have reviewed), I still found ten minor errors by around halfway through. Consequently, I can only rate Falling to Fly 3 out of 4 stars. With these errors fixed, I would definitely rate it 4 stars. It is an amazing tale of adventure and personal growth, written extremely well. This book would appeal to anyone who enjoys a good adventure story. Just be aware it does contain depictions of violence, illness, and injury, so it might be a bit confronting for some.
Falling to Fly
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