Friday, June 15, 2012

Duffy Barkley Seek Well (Book 2)

Book: Duffy Barkley Seek Well Tales of Uhrlin Book 2

Author: Dixie Goode
Available on Amazon and other sites

I had read and loved the the first book in this series, viz: Duffy Barkley is not a Dog. Thus, when Dixie kindly offered to send me the second book in this series, viz: Duffy Barkley Seeks Well, more as a gift rather than for review, how could I resist?

You can see my review of the previous book by clicking here.

Considering that this book is equally amazing, I just had to review it and share my views.

"Duffy Barkley, the protagonist of Duffy Barkley Is Not a Dog, has returned in the sequel, Duffy Barkley: Seek Well. Now 11 years old, he cannot remember the events that happened the first time that he was in Uhrlin, or a time when his Cerebral palsy was cured, or when he flew. But those memories are breaking through and Uhrlin remembers him and is calling him back. He can't remember why he is fascinated by Guatemala, or anything about a giant, bald, orca colored mer-woman with the voice of an angel. But he has to seek her". Well this is a good enough teaser for any fan of Duffy Barkley!

Dixie Goode has worked with children and obviously knows them and loves them, this reflects in her books. Middle graders (Age group 10 to 14) will love reading this book. Even adults can enjoy and read it from a different perspective.

The book unfolds with Duffy, behaving like a typical adolescent, even as he loves his parents and little sister Izzy, he is more argumentative – even as he himself doesn’t know why. Duffy also sponsors a child Noe, in Guatemala, the land where Milee whom he met in the alternate world Uhrlin grew up. He has a sudden desire to visit this nation and luckily for him, his parents agree to have their family summer holiday there.

The sights, sounds and smells of Guatemala are vividly described in this book. But, things cannot remain ‘normal’ for Duffy, for long. Suddenly, he finds himself riding on the back of the great turtle and he is transported back into Uhrlin.
Only this time, he remembers his past adventure in Uhrlin and how having given the last healing berry to Smelter he is once again unable to walk. Yet, the River of Time helped him to undo the past and Skull, once his tormentor is now his best friend. In Uhrlin, he meets all his old friends.

He meets Ahee, Whee-Oh, Sea-Bee, Smelter, Mailee, the Flowstones, Tricky and his pal Diana, Little White Cloud the buffalo, Boo and Boo’s new found baby – Fred, whom they all think is a baby dragon, but who turns out to be a sea-monster. Fred, of course has imprinted Boo to be his “Daddy” and thinks himself to be a little fur ball, despite his gigantic size and he keeps growing!

Sadly, Glori the Mer-woman is alleged to be a traitor. It appears that she has sold a map which pinpoints the directions to Princess Sea-Bee’s whereabouts. Duffy’s mission is to find her. He is told to seek her, but to seek well!

As in real life, all is not as it appears to seem. Both Duffy and Sea-Bee are steadfast in their belief that Glori is loyal and would do no wrong. Perhaps there is more than meets the eye. Even as the Pyramids tell Myskva and the others what seems like a different story. While they are on this quest, Icebird, captures Duffy and tells him to go slow in his search for Glori. Unfortunately, Icebird can say no more.

Duffy knows his belief in Glori is true. When Glori is captured the real story spills out, she was trying to protect the islands and Sea-Bee. When the Tree of Life was injured and began to tip, before Smelter could undo the damage he had caused, there crept into the gap, Cailleagh, who has awesome creative energy. She always varies in age. While trying to heal the Tree of Life, her creative energy saps and she begins to grow old and senile. An evil force has also followed her through this gap. It is Glori’s task to protect Cailleagh till she becomes coherent and normal again. It is up to Duffy to ensure the evil force, who is attracted to creativity (the opposite of creativity is chaos and we know that opposites do attract), is banished out of Uhrlin and the Tree of Life is balanced again. This he does so, with the help of all his friends. When a triumphant Duffy returns to Guatemala, this time, he continues to carry with him the memories of Uhrlin.

The entire story is delightful, packed with lively characters and deep messages. Duffy’s unshakeable belief in Glori is a delight to behold. Life is complex, sometimes it is not possible for us to understand why someone whom we love and trust is behaving in a peculiar manner.

Duffy’s meeting with Ivor, was what I liked best. Like Duffy, I too love Ivor. He is a wise soul. If you recall the previous story, Aunt Peg gave Duffy a medallion, the same medallion which was at the bottom of the chest, where Duffy landed spiralling him for the first time into the alternate world of Uhrlin.

On this medallion Duffy saw Ivor as a white flying Tiger, but Aunt Peg (who had also visited and is fondly remember in Uhrlin) saw him as a strong water buffalo.
When Duffy questions Ivor about this, Ivor replies: “I gave you a chance to see all the potential you carried within you, reflected in the part of me you saw”. So Duffy, then a weak, clumsy boy who could barely walk, saw the traits of strength, warmth and courage, reflected in the image of a white flying Tiger.

Aunt Peg, on the other hand, had to work tirelessly on the farm. She needed to experience a strength that would keep her going steadily and undaunted even as farm life was tough. The Water Buffalo symbolised strength and hard work.

Wouldn’t it be nice to have Ivor as a friend, who would be able to tell us our true potential? Look around. Your best friend, or family member may be your Ivor. Or if not, look deep within yourself, you will realise your true potential. Never let self-doubt get into the way.

Now, if I try and visualise what I would see in the medallion, I see myself as curious, intelligent, sensitive, creative (I love to write), kind, freedom loving, reliable (Of course, I have negative traits as well, but let us for now, stick to the nice ones). What is that I see looking back at me? It seems to be a cross between a freedom loving horse and an intelligent creative raven.

Imagine holding that very medallion. Now, look deep within yourself and tell me, what do you see?

Source of the photograph: Downloaded from Flickr and used as per the terms of the Creative Commons License.


Susan P. Cooper said...

What a lovely review. I am going to purchase theses books for myself. I love the premise and concept of the story and can't wait to read both of these books.

I thought about what my medallion would show, My father always called me a flying unicorn; a pure heart that has taken wing. I should create a post around that; don't you think?

Thank you for calling my attention to this author. :) Susan Cooper

Lubna said...

@Susan: Thanks for visiting. I know you will love these books. Of course you must create the post about what you see yourself to be. A Unicorn is nice. Tricky here, in this book series, would then be your closest pal.

echo said...

What an amazing thing to see someone put so much time and effort into a review of what was once just a vague dream in my head. That you cared this much really honors me. Thank you for the review and for donating the books on to a school so that kids can see them too.

Dixie Goode

Susan P. Cooper said...

Hi, I just ordered both books, I am so excited to get them. I will keep you posted. :) Susan Cooper

Relyn Lawson said...

Sounds like an intriguing book. Thanks for your review. As to what the medallion would show? I'm still looking.

Relyn Lawson said...

They sound like intriguing books. Thanks for the review. As to what my medallion would show? I'm still looking.

Lubna said...

@Susan: Thanks for ordering the books
@Relyn: Thanks for stopping by, am sure the medallion will throw up something very nice and wonderful.

Catarina said...

Beautiful review Lubna, even though the book isn't my cup of tea:-)

Dilip said...

Another excellent review! Cheers

Saskia said...

I think my boys will love books like this when they grow up! Of course, we all need others to help us see our potential... still trying to figure out mine. Help, Ivor! :)

Lubna said...

@Catarina, Dilip: Thanks for visiting and for appreciating the review.
@Saskia: I am sure Ivor will help you, look again.8-)

Coretta said...

A wonderful and thorough review. I look forward to reading fantasy type books to my niece. She's only five now, so this one would be a bit over her head. I'll keep a look out for book in her age range. Good job.

Lubna said...

@Coretta: Thanks for visiting. Do visit again.

Jules said...

What a delightful review. I might have to seek out these books read them and then, pass them on to my niece and nephew. I think your Ivor medal - could very well be a poetic or just plain writing prompt. Who is your Ivor, what do you see, seek or even need (to improve).

echo said...

Hi again, I just sent you a copy of a book for younger kids, about 5th grade level that I published about the Oregon Trail. It should be good for your school book drive. Anyway they say around Sept. 7 for delivery.

Really think you are doing good things here.