Friday, February 13, 2015

Telemachus and Homer

Genre:   YA Fantasy
Publisher: Malachite Quills Publishing
Pub. date: Sept 2012

For every boy who grew up in his father’s shadow and every girl who has been underestimated, there comes a time to look within themselves to see if they have the strength to meet the challenges of their lives. For Telemachus this time arrives soon after Odysseus returns from his twenty year absence, when Telemachus comes to appreciate that his own life needs to be about more than waiting for his father to guide him. On the verge of embarking on an adventure, he learns that his community has been threatened and realizes that he does not know how to help. Swallowing his pride, he recognizes that Homer, a young blind woman is a necessary ally. Homer, like Telemachus has something to prove, for although she is respected for her knowledge, she feels unfairly defined by her community. Together, as the people of Ithaca’s last hope, they begin their quest.

By the time that Telemachus was nineteen, he had had enough of Homer’s attempts to help him to get in touch with his feelings. He was living his loneliness, and he did not see any value in brooding over it as Homer wanted him to do. Consequently, he spent longer times in a state of silence that was loud and clear to Homer.
However, even in silence, Telemachus could not hide his discomfort. During these times, Homer heard Telemachus’ breathing rate change as she asked questions that made him feel ill at ease, and she could smell the sweat that accumulated on his brow. Finally, Homer stopped following him to the shoreline.
Telemachus had been Homer’s only true friend. He was the only person who did not ever question why she spent so many hours studying, and he never asked her how she could learn so much even though she was blind. She always wanted people to treat her as Homer, and not the blind girl. In receiving the cold shoulder from Telemachus, her wish came true, and it hurt.
By contrast, Telemachus had mixed emotions about not having Homer as a companion. He missed the company, but he also felt relieved that no one forced him to confront his feelings. Homer had been the only one in all of Ithaca to press him on these issues. Even Telemachus’ own mother did not press him. He wondered whether Homer was the only one who could not appreciate that her questions were inappropriate to ask the son of Odysseus, or whether she was the only one who cared enough to ask the questions that despite his unease and desire not to hear, needed to be asked.
In the first few days after Homer stopped shadowing Telemachus, Homer sulked and Telemachus became even more introverted. But Homer was too determined to make something of herself to allow her rift with Telemachus to bring her down. Accordingly, whereas Telemachus remained focused on waiting for news of his father, Homer threw herself into her interests, and she increased the intensity of her training in the medicinal arts. She also spent her free time, the time that she had previously spent with Telemachus, interviewing travelers and veterans of the Trojan War. Quickly, she became Ithaca’s most worldly citizen, despite never having left its shores.

Growing up was difficult for both Telemachus and Homer. Telemachus dealt with his father's absence by waiting...and waiting...and waiting. Telemachus basically put large portions of growing up on hold until the day his father, the legendary Odysseus returned. Telemachus' friend Homer dealt with her childhood hardships in a different way. She tried to excel in order to counteract prejudice toward her disability and gender. Both friends would need every ounce of strength and ingenuity to save the people of Ithaca!

A team of four friends who are unlikely heroes. A tale of almost Paul Bunyan proportions...where you constantly wonder what the characters (and the author) will think of next. A wholesome story that can be read as soon as our homeschoolers reach the right reading level.

My rating: 4 out of 5 stars

-----Amazon. Paperback. Can currently add to wishlist right now.
-----An excellent review on IndieReader.
-----Goodreads. I plan to get a review up there soon. :-)
-----Myth Forum thread. Some discussion of why Homer is female.

Scott Locke is a graduate of Brown University with a concentration in biology and of the University of Pennsylvania School of Law, where he earned his J.D. Scott has published many articles on various aspects of intellectual property. Telemachus and Homer is Scott's first publication of fiction.

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