The Ocean and the Hourglass - Dan O'Brien, Author

The Ocean and the Hourglass – Review by Martha A. Cheves,  Author of Stir, Laugh, Repeat; Think With Your Taste Buds; A Book and A Dish
“What kind of book is this, Mr. Thompson?” his voice cracking  as he asked.  “Open the cover, Nicholas.”  Nicholas met the librarian’s gaze and  the old man’s trustful not restored his confidence.  Opening the cover, the  thick black hand cover gave way to cream-colored sheets that did not smell of  musk or salt.  They were blank.  “The book is empty?”  Nicholas was now  thoroughly confused.  The librarian, however, seemed utterly amused by the  situation.  “That is why there are rules, Nicholas.  The book alone cannot work  without the hourglass.  And of course, it will not function with the imagination  of one as special as you are.”  “I don’t understand.”  “Let me explain,” offered  Mr. Thompson as he rose from his chair.  Clasping his hands behind his back, he  resembled a lecturer preparing to give a speech.  “There are five rules to using  the Book.  They must be followed as I lay them down…
“The first rule is that you must always read the book alone.   Never tell anyone that you have the book nor let anyone read it.”
“The second rule is that you must always read the book with  the hourglass.  Never are you to activate one without the other.  Disaster lies  in that course.”
“The third rule is that when reading the book you must never  lose track of either item.  If you were to be reading and the hourglass was  lost, then you too would be lost.  Keep both together.”
“The fourth rule is to always read the book as you wish it to  be read.  Never lose hope in the story, for you will be lost if you do.”
“The fifth and final rule is as important as the others, even  more so if you believe as you should.  You must never stop believing in heroes,  Nicholas.  You must believe with all your heart that good will prevail, that  heroes will triumph no matter the odds.”
Nicholas Miles was from what has become such a common state  of being for so many young boys and girls.  He is being raised by a single  mother who works hard but enjoys the bottle a bit more than she should.  He has  also become the punching bag for the bullies within his school.  One morning,  after his usual confrontation with these boys, Nicholas just couldn’t bring  himself to go inside the school.  This time the boys had torn his favorite comic  book in half tossing it on the wet ground.  Nicholas’ hero was the Mariner and  the destruction of this book was the destruction of his comic book friend.  With  no money to replace the book, the next best place was the library where he could  read until his heart was content as he enveloped himself with those who cared… the heroes of the oceans of a world far, far away.  What he never dreamed of was  Mr. Thompson introducing him to the very old, very special book and the  hourglass which he had stored deep within the library waiting for that special  person to come along.  This book allowed Nicholas to write his own story and  live it as it happened.  Only he could create the beginning and the end and only  he could decide the effect his decisions would have upon everyone involved in  his story.
The Ocean and the Hourglass is one of the deepest books I’ve  ever read.  It awakens the reader to right and wrong in says that I personally  have never give thought to.  You may ask the question “what is right and what is  wrong?”  Easy answer?  Maybe but “who interprets what is right and wrong?”  We  all know the 10 commandments, which are cut and dry in definition – aren’t  they?  What about the gray areas?  Can we tell black lies, white lies and gray  lies?  Or are they all lies?    Can we kill people to benefit the masses and it  be ok?  Are there black killings, white killings and gray killings or again are  they just all killings?  Are the killing wrong if they will save more then they  kill?  Are we in our current position by choice or by events and chance?  Do  events really play a role in the choices we make?  As I said, The Ocean and the  Hourglass is a deep book of thought.  It started out as what I expected to be a  children’s book but boy was I wrong as I got deeper and deeper into the thoughts  it evoked within me. 

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Tags: A, Book, Buds, Cheves, Dish, Laugh, Martha, Repeat, Stir, Taste, More…Think, With, Your, and, book, fantasy, heroes, reviews, sci-fi

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