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Flashes And Specks by Mark Pogodzinski - Book Review


Flashes And Specks
Mark Pogodzinski
No Frills Press Buffalo

Fiction-Net Rating 4 Star Rated Book

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Cover Story

See Henry's son build a city in the basement. He might be a mad genius or just bad. Watch Henry's wife return with a message from the Pastor: God is angry.

Learn the date of the end of the world through a complex mathematical formula involving the length of a 1974 Corvette. Feel the pain of Henry's students, but only the bullies are being tortured.

Weep as Henry's father faces death, but what is death really? Smile because it all takes place at Christmas.

We Say

Flashes And Specks by Mark Pogodzinski has enjoyably short chapters which can seem to be a change of subject but at the same time, they connect. Although frequently rather dismal and leaving a feeling of strange emptiness, there are glimpses of happier times that you know and want the main character, Henry, to have.

Flashes And Specks begins with the suicide of Henry's cousin, Carter. The cousins use the comic book world to escape from their own worlds, comic book heroes being a prominent and reoccurring theme throughout Flashes And Specks, particularly the notion of hero versus villain.

Carter's presence is made known to Henry at various times in the book - it is obvious that the suicide has effected Henry. The story then jumps to Henry's adult life. He is a teacher who enjoys his job. He cares, possibly too much. For example, the bully (the villain), Henry wants to be the hero but in reality cannot be. Anyway, Henry has bigger issues - his wife has disappeared, his son goes to a 'special school' and a colleague claims he know the exact date the world will end. Has this colleague lost it or is he on to something? Henry's everyday world seems to be collapsing, so who knows?

Considering Flashes And Specks is such an emotional, character-based book, I found myself wanting to know more about the characters, especially Henry's son, Arthur. Often forgetting he is a young child and taking into account his unstable mental issues, I felt as though he was the more mentally stable character, very calm and rational.

Towards the end of Flashes And Specks, Arthur becomes stronger and seems to be overcome some of his issues. It is clear that although Henry loves his son, Arthur appears to have assumed the role of parent and become stronger, as his father becomes weaker.

I was not initially expecting to like this book but by the time I'd finished, I was converted enough to consider it almost a 'must read'. Flashes And Specks is just the right length for what it is, but at the same time it leaves you wanting more. Insightful, mind-bending and at times challenging to the point of being slightly depressing, Flashes And Specks will make you consider your own feelings on life's challenges. Surprisingly unforgettable.

Review by: Toni Watkins

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