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The love and devotion between the brothers is indomitable
By Mark E Garner on October 16, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Powerful and heartwarming. The love and devotion between the brothers is indomitable. In order to survive in a threatening environment and dealing with many grievous situations, the boys concoct a spartan plan that will free both of them from the perverse grip of The King. My imagination ran wild, my heart beat faster as though I were caught in the valiant effort to help them escape!
— Mark Garner, Amazon reader review
5 stars out of 5 stars
By Holly Green on October 8, 2014
Format: Paperback
It is hard to explain what I love about this story so much because it is so near to my heart and so personal. I will try to leave a short review here about some things you should know. Why I think you should read this book.
This is not just a book, it’s a time machine to the past. Reader’s born in the late 50’s or early 60’s will be transported back to their own childhood’s and remember the good times and the things from the past that entire generation will wholeheartedly agree was “just better back then.” 5 cent candy and comic books, using your imagination in play as you explored the whole community like all of it was your own backyard, not being shut away inside all day playing a video game. Reader’s born later will get to live in that era of American History for a little while, starting with the very first chapter as you take a road trip across America in a 1961 Plymouth Valiant. Evans has always had a talent for resurrecting our childhood days for us and reminding us of things we have forgotten. This is why “The Sandlot” is and will forever be a classic film. So anyone reading this book is in for a delight as you essentially get to be a child again and tag along with Mike and his little brother Bobby through all their expeditions.
Other reviews have said, and will say, that this story is really about child abuse. Well yes and no. There is an ever present threat through out the novel, known to the reader only as “The King.” The boys fear of him is so palpable in the writing that you forget for a moment you are not a 10 year old child. You can feel the feeling of hopelessness right down to your core. But Evans does not focus on the abuse and avoids graphic description of violence. Instead the narrative sticks to what it is like to be in a child’s mind, focusing on things that little boys care deeply about: bullies, dogs, exploring, comic books, and of course, a red wagon radio flyer. That the boys fear The King so pervasively in all aspects of their lives through out the story is all you need to know to convince you this man is a threat.
”So it is, but it is not, about child abuse is what you’re saying?” you may be asking. Yes, this is not your average story about child abuse written by and for adults filled with terrifying violence that will make you nauseated and depressed. This probably one of the few books written from the point of view of a child. The narrative is all from the point of view of a child’s mind and reminds us how resilient children can become when faced with terrible situations they have no control over. There is a message of hope in this story. When faced with a threat, we have two options: fight or flight. If you’re too small and powerless to fight, what then remains your option? Flight. And that is the actual theme of the story, it is not a story about being destroyed. It is an inspiring story about triumphing over an evil doer and insurmountable odds, about sacrifice and love.
I enjoyed reading this book very much and recommend it to everyone. The narrative is a comforting flow as if listening to an old friend telling you a story from the past. The boys emotions of joy, discovery, excitement and fear are so vivid and poignant. Certain passages brought tears to my eyes, but most of them brought smiles. Enjoy!
— Holly Green, Reader review from Amazon.com
In The King of Pacoima, David Mickey Evans, with a deceptively easy flow and rhythm captures the innocence and pain of a childhood. This profoundly touching book will resonate with everyone who grew up. And especially those who grew up not only with the fear of “bad things” in the outside world, but the even greater terror within what should have been the safe sanctuary of home. Two little boys, brothers, trapped in a home with the “King”, the stepfather who dominated cruelly their young lives, create an imaginary world and plan their ultimate escape. The photos and illustrations depict a suburban ‘sixties family; smiling, on road trips, holidays, beloved dogs. And then there are the captions: “Mom. Doing her best”, “First Trip to the Emergency Room” and the bewildered, child’s eyes in “In trouble again without Knowing Why” that reveal the dark reality. It’s a miracle that any child survives and overcomes the emotional and/or physical abuse and neglect they suffer at the hands of adults, but many do; the sinister, rumbling threat, encapsulated in the sound of jazz for these children, was still not powerful enough to extinguish their warmth and capacity to love. For adults and readers from fourteen years of age this book will become a treasured classic, a great acquisition for all high school libraries.
— By Josephine Smithyman, author of Hotey
“...it’s best to let the emotional story of these two boys wash over you in all its heartwarming and heart-wrenching glory. While Evans doesn’t go into graphic detail about the abuse, we know it’s there, and it’s upsetting. But you must remember that this story is told by an adult who is writing through the eyes of his eleven-year-old self. We are seeing what he saw. We are experiencing what he experienced — or at least, the way he wants to remember having experienced it. In that, Evans does a bit of a “Life of Pi” trick that — by the end — alters what you’ve read, if you are a careful enough reader to pick up on it.”
— Kevin Taft, from his review of The King of Pacoima at Edge on the Net

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