Hardcover: 96 pages
Publisher: High-Pitched Hum Publishing (December 10, 2006)
Good stories are, by nature, meant to entertain; but, what can make a story great is the added bonus a reader gets when the tale teaches a reader something new; The Stream is a great story. What, you may wonder, did I learn from reading this great tale? I must admit that initially, it was with a little trepidation that I approached this novel. Fishing? What do I know about fishing? I thought. It is neither a hobby of mine and really, I could not very well identify with a story about a youth who gets lost at sea when he goes out fishing. But, I was wrong and in for a treat.
I was hooked from the moment I completed reading the Prologue. The main protagonist, Sandy, is in some form of danger and I found that I immediately wanted to know what happened. This desire to know what happened was sustained throughout the tale and is testament to Mr. Robertson’s craftsmanship. The remaining chapters chronicle the events of Sandy’s life and experiences in the two weeks prior to this incident. It is an honest, heart-warming and yet funny account of this teenager’s life in the sea-side town of Mayport, Florida.
In this story, Mr. Robertson has introduced various themes from the preservation of family values, teenage romance, boy-growing up and a rescue mission. To his credit, Mr. Robertson has managed to intertwine all of these themes and the end result is a tale which is seamless and flows beautifully. The language is neither too flowery nor is it too simple – indeed, Mr. Robertson has struck a balance to ensure that the tale is told with great aplomb. There is much humor in this story and it comes across in the many descriptions that Mr. Robertson has given to the characters and places. For instance, ‘Watermelon-on-legs’ and ‘Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum’ immediately create images that makes any further description of these people superfluous. Also, what was intriguing was that Mr. Robertson has succeeded in writing dialogue that is so true and original that it was refreshing.
It is often said of novels that words should be enough to sufficiently convey a tale. When illustrations are included, something does not seem right and more often than not, a reader may become frustrated with the fact that the illustrations do not eventually tally with the description in the book. However, in the case of The Stream, it is the exact opposite for Mr. Robertson’s words already conjure up images that are most vivid and when the strategically placed illustrations presented themselves, I found myself thinking, “that’s exactly how I saw it”- indeed, the illustrations are beautiful and they add to rather than detract from the tale told.
As I started with the idea that readers should learn something new when reading a tale, I think it fitting that I end this piece with what I’ve learned about fishing by quoting what is my favorite passage in the book:
Actually, Sandy already knew that the tide would be low because he kept up with the charts. Good fishermen always considered several natural occurrences when fishing. The tide was one. Sandy liked an incoming tide. The temperature of the water was significant, the phase and location of the moon was another factor. The presence and location of baitfish in an area was also important. The moon would be setting about the time the sun rose, which was perfect. The water was very warm around the inshore reefs and there were lots of baitfish swimming there.