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The Marbury Lens Hardcover – November 9, 2010
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The Amazon Book Review
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Sixteen-year-old Jack gets drunk and is in the wrong place at the wrong time. He is kidnapped. He escapes, narrowly. The only person he tells is his best friend, Conner. When they arrive in London as planned for summer break, a stranger hands Jack a pair of glasses. Through the lenses, he sees another world called Marbury.
There is war in Marbury. It is a desolate and murderous place where Jack is responsible for the survival of two younger boys. Conner is there, too. But he’s trying to kill them.
Meanwhile, Jack is falling in love with an English girl, and afraid he’s losing his mind.
Conner tells Jack it’s going to be okay.
But it’s not.
Andrew Smith has written his most beautiful and personal novel yet, as he explores the nightmarish outer limits of what trauma can do to our bodies and our minds.
Amazon Exclusive: A Note from Andrew Smith, Author of The Marbury Lens
On a number of levels, The Marbury Lens is an attempt on my part to reconnect with many of the experiences I went through as a teenager.
At that time, I was quite a fan of horror stories. In particular, I think I read every book Stephen King put out as soon as they'd hit the shelves. So, I always wanted to write something that would scare the daylights out of me -- if I could somehow be transported back in time to those years.
More than that, like Jack Whitmore, the narrator of The Marbury Lens, I also went through some tough and terrifying experiences as a teen. So the novel is, in many ways, very personal, which, I think, helps pull readers in to the very dark worlds Jack unwillingly travels through.
From School Library Journal
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Top Customer Reviews
17 year old Jack Whitmore, born a bastard on his mother's kitchen floor, grows up with his grandparents since his parents chose to not participate in his rearing. Getting drunk one night at a party with his best friend Conn has Jack hitting the streets to walk off his stupor. Stopping in the local park on his way home, he collapses on a park bench only to be woken the next morning by a man dressed in hospital scrubs asking him if he was ok. This mysterious doctor offers Jack a ride home and foolishly Jack accepts. But Jack is not taken home. Horrible things are done to Jack, things of your worst nightmares. Luckily Jack escapes & heads to Conn's house to tell him what has happened. These two young men then plot, plan, and execute, a brutal revenge.
Putting the horror behind them, Jack and Conn travel to London for a holiday. While alone, Jack is approached by a man who seems to know him, hands him a pair of odd looking purple glasses, then walks away. Not being able to resist such an oddity, Jack puts the glasses on. His world, from that point on, turns upside down, backwards and forwards, and a rollercoaster ride from hell ensues. Through the glasses, there is a post apocalypse world of war that has ravished the land. Murderous gangs of teenagers fight for survival, & savagely fight against each for dominance..and food. This desolate world is called Marbury and when Jack arrives, he becomes part of something terrifying, and abominable. There on the other side, the person out to kill him is his real life friend Conn.Read more ›
The conflict in this book is an interesting one, but not always one that demanded I read. On our side, I was interested in Jack's happiness, which the story skirts around as possibly requiring him to get rid of the glasses that allow him to see the other side, which is called Marbury.Read more ›
Okaaaaay... How to review "The Marbury Lens"...
I'm going to assume the plot points are covered (more than) adequately in other reviews, so I'm going to skip all that & focus on my thoughts on the book instead.
First of all, I find it extremely difficult to believe anyone older than 10 would find this book frightening -- and I am NOT a big fan of horror, so I'm definitely not a jaded reviewer. I've read other things that I've found shocking, frightening, &/or disturbing -- the first story in Joe Hill's "20th Century Ghosts" springs to mind -- but this didn't even come close to scaring me. I didn't even find it particularly disturbing.
Some of the aspects of Jack's story were well written & compelling -- his kidnapping & his apparent emotional & psychological breakdown afterwards, in particular, rang true -- but Jack was already so damaged at the beginning of the book that sympathizing with him was difficult. For example, after being raised from birth by his apparently loving grandparents, Jack stresses over & over that he has no feelings for them, that the only person he loves is his best friend, Connor. Why? The author gives absolutely no reason for Jack's lack of attachment to these caring people who raised him from infancy & who, seemingly, spoil him rotten.
I also took issue with the way teens are portrayed here -- Jack is 16, his girlfriend Nickie is 17, & the other kids are around the same age. At 16, Jack & Connor travel to England without adult supervision. Nickie & her friend Rachel also seem to come & go as they please, without informing anyone of their whereabouts.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
The book just didn't interest me after about 50 pages...sorry...it just wasn't for ME. Others may find it a thriller like some of my friends. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Amazon Customer
This book is very captivating and very realistic. I recommend this to anyone who is mature and adventurous. Love love love it!Published 7 months ago by Kindle Customer
There is no review I could write that would do these 2 books justice. I picked up the first book over a year ago. Read morePublished 7 months ago by Dave W
I enjoyed this book and it did keep my interest. It's not my typical read but I would try something else by this author in the futurePublished 11 months ago by Erin
While the author describes his split world as two dimensions, similar and crossed by ghosts and magic glasses, the book works more seamlessly as a metaphor for trauma symptoms. Read morePublished 11 months ago by Delang
an unpredictable book that starts off as one thing then veers wildly in another direction. Still hits some of those cliched YA notes, but much more gritty and intense than your... Read morePublished 12 months ago by Jim Heskett
I sometimes feel guilty about how stingy I am with five-star reviews. I give them, but a story really needs to be fairly flawless AND suck me in—so both well executed AND my thing…... Read morePublished 16 months ago by Hart Johnson
It was great. Still have some questions I want answered but it was great. It has curse words so beware. Other than that it was great.Published 17 months ago by Kindle Customer