Who among us remembers the incessant cauldron of our teen years...HIGH SCHOOL...with
Captain of the Football Team...the snotty
Head Cheerleader...the too gorgeous and popular
President of the Student Council, copping feels every time he got within a foot of you?
If we'd all possessed a magic mirror, like the one on Romper Room, and could look into the "hidden" realities of every student walking those smelly, hallowed halls with us, we'd see traumas tamped down beneath the vigorously projected veneers of the flippant cruelty they tenaciously flung at us.
Stuart R. West has created a trilogy so ripe in unveiling, in startling details, events I am often cringing over as I am swamped with memories of my own attempts to make it through school without calling unwarranted attention to my nerdy self.
Tex has more challenges than anyone twice his age should have to endure. His mother is dead...suddenly...and so unfairly. His father has MS and even though he unselfishly tells his son to move on with his life, Tex cannot avoid the cruelty of this advancing disease, and the many ways he, not his father, must take on the mantle of adulthood, like it or not.
I didn't have a close family member with MS, but in Junior High, my favorite Science Teacher, Mr. Sexton, was diagnosed with it. Over the next five years I watched this delightful teacher, and adored father go from a strapping, tall powerhouse, to a wheel bound skeleton of his former self. It hurt as one of his former students, to watch him disintegrating for my eyes. I cannot imagine what it had to have done to the children he could no longer toss a ball with, or escort his daughter to the Father/Daughter Spring Dance.
Until Stuart R. West brought it to vivid life through his Tex series, I had no clue. You've a powerful voice Mr. West!
This book opens with the apparent suicide of one of the few kindhearted cheerleaders while at the same time, showing the gruesome revelry of the Student Council as it acts out a bizarre game of not..Tag-your-it,
but Tag-Your-Dead to drive home the dangers of drunk driving.
Once again Mr. West taps in to some of the odd but impossible to ever fully forget horror we all endured for the purpose of scaring us silly-straight. (I remember the yearly "movie" about a lung on tobacco...most of us had to run out so we didn't toss our cookies in the classroom.)
I'm not going to give the story away. What I will say is Tex is graduating from his years of imprisonment in one month...he hopes. He can see that final door when he kisses high school goodbye...yet the world is not a pure place to move on and spread your wings in. Especially if you're a teen witch.
Once again, I cannot give Tex in THIS edition, TEX AND THE GOD SQUAD anything less than
Where will Mr. West take Tex in the future? Will there be any future Tex stories? Only Mr. West can answer that question.
For the past three I can only end this review with two words for Mr. West...