Friday, July 8, 2011
Review - David Halperin - Journal of a UFO Investigator
David Halperin's Journal of a UFO Investigator is a fun journey into the fantasies of teenager Danny Shapiro. As the book progresses, there are two stories to follow. One story occurs in real life, where his Mom is dying and the Dad is distant. The other story occurs inside of Danny's journal, which merges his fantasies with what's really happening. We learn that the journal is one way for Danny to cope with his difficult teenager years.
The fantasies center around UFOs. Here, the author shows off his vast knowledge. Either he did his research, or he really lived it when he, himself, was a teenager. I remember being fascinated by UFOs when I was young, but I never got this much into it. The books that Danny reads were really written. The things he experiences in his journal are consistent with UFO theories prominent in the early 60s: the "dero," the "three men in black," caves in the earth, etc. I enjoyed having the history lesson sneaked into the story.
The journal itself reminds me of Maurice Sendak: Very impossible, dreamlike, out of this world, and yet with several real life elements. All together, it's a surreal world beautifully described and experienced.
Part of the fun is trying to figure out which parts really happened, and which parts were pure fantasy. Some gems are left unrevealed, which is perfect for this type of book. I'm also left wondering which parts actually happened to the author when he was a teenager.
I found only one slow part where the book took a different turn, giving more insight into the real life story, but much less UFO-age. In the end everything gets pulled back together.
Despite the attractive cover, this book is not for kids. Just think of the fantasies you had when you were a teenager - and yes - that's in this book. There are also a handful of f-bombs (all unnecessary but PG-13). Kids may also not appreciate some of the strong emotions that make this book a success.
My recommendation: read this book. Lose yourself and relive the fantasies you had when you were young.