by Paul Nowak
I love the fun, little coincidences that occur from time to time. I was reading Relentless by Dean Koontz recently wherein he quotes G. K. Chesterton several times. I was vaguely aware of the name and knew that it belonged to an author, but I had no idea what he wrote, when he lived or anything else about him. I liked the quotes in the book and vowed I was going to search out more information on the internet about Chesterton.
Before finishing Relentless, I received an offer for an ARC based on the life and works of Chesterton. I was thrilled to accept. The book is written for young readers, maybe 3rd grade and up, but as the author says, "It is the first in a series on "Uncle Chestnut, putting G. K. Chesterton in a more familiar light for young people (and time-pressed adults, too!)" It provided a perfect introduction for me.
This is a book that I will reread many times. One time uplifted my spirits and taught me much, but I will needed to be reminded frequently. The four stories (inconvenient adventures) in this short volume are told from the viewpoint of Chesterton's make-believe nephew, Jack.
One of the stories was based on the often quipped saying that the most important thing is that we need to believe in ourselves. I won't tell you what Chesterton's response was to this except to tell you he didn't believe it.
Another story is about being lost. One quote from that story: "Real happiness is knowing that things of this world will never make us truly happy, and relishing the simple pleasures and new experiences each day until we reach home."
As I did further research on Chesterton I discovered he wrote several mysteries. Oh, yes! One of my favorite quotes was said by him and I didn't even know it: "Fairy tales are more than true: not because they tell us that dragons exist, but because they tell us that dragons can be beaten." This quote is on the back of some, if not all, copies of Caroline.
Those of you have read Good Omens should note that it was dedicated to the memory of G.K. Chesterton: A man who knew what was going on.
Also of note for those of us who have read Neil Gaiman's collection of short stories in M is for Magic, the character of October in October in the Chair, was based on Chesterton.
Please get yourself a copy of this delicious, delightful and wonderful little book. You'll be glad you did. I anxiously wait for the next installment. I so glad Paul Nowak created this work of love and shared it with the world. We needed this.