Tom Finder

by Martine Leavitt
ISBN: 0889952620

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Tom Finder
by M.J. Fishbane

Things are a little strang in Tom Finder, where Martine Leavitt weaves Mozart's The Magic Flute-she quotes the opera at the beginning of each chapter, transforming the passages into clues for solving the mystery-into her story about a fifteen-year-old boy with a bizarre case of amnesia.
The narrative is like a dream-characters are never properly introduced and haunt Tom like ghosts. Throughout the first half of the book, Tom is overcome with a sick feeling that Leavitt calls "gravity". It is unclear what she means by this. Some will appreciate the idea that Tom feels invisible and prefers to remain so, but this concept will likely cost her other readers.
Tom begins to "find" himself one morning when he meets an old man named Samuel Wolflegs who asks him to help him look for his son Daniel. Tom becomes convinced that the search for Daniel will also answer some of his own questions. With his notebook, pen and knapsack in hand, Tom begins searching.
Leavitt discretely relies on the popular ideas of "creative visualization", the idea that with the right attitude, one can achieve one's goals. Even Teen readers have been "Chicken-Soup-for the Soul-ed" enough to be aware-at least on a superficial level-of this concept.
Tom has a supernatural gift; he is able to use his pen to create what he desires. He writes that he found money and then he finds it. The more Tom begins to discover about himself, the more he writes, and thus the characters he encounters become less illusive and dreamy and more concrete and recognizable. It is thus that he discovers the truth, and gets past the illusions he had created about his home life, finally coming to understand why he forced himself to forget it. Still, the ending may not have offer sufficient "closure" for some readers.

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