on June 05, 2014
Finnegan’s Quest is a tale that sweeps the reader into a magical land where the thread of fantasy is intricately and skillfully woven with that of reality to create a fabric revealing many truths about the society in which we live.
In the story, Finnegan, a young fox, leaves the safety and security of his mother’s home to set out into the world in search of a guru who he expects will teach him the answers to the mysteries of the universe. He imagines that his guru will be big, strong, and mysterious. Full of enthusiasm and expectation, he finds himself in the land of Squiggly Wood. Throughout his travels there, he meets many creatures of the forest, each expressing his or her own viewpoints, opinions, and advice for Finnegan.
Along the way, Finnegan finds true friendship in a crow called Crookshank who is physically disfigured and impaired by one maimed foot. Many of the forest creatures alienate themselves from Crookshank, believing her foot to be evil and used to cast spells upon others. Finnegan discerns for himself that their feelings are unwarranted and untrue, and soon Finnegan and Crookshank become fast friends.
As Finnegan continues to search for his guru, he and Crookshank spend their days together exchanging thoughts and feelings and experiences, and their relationship grows. Crookshank encourages Finnegan to search for his own answers in life by using his own free will.
In the end, Finnegan finally realizes that Crookshank has been his guru all along; and even more importantly, he learns that he never really needed a guru at all—that all he needed to do was look inside himself for true guidance.
I had a bit of difficulty getting into the pace of the story and style of dialogue. More importantly, though, the author’s colorful and authentic descriptive writing and choice of interesting words and phrases paint a vivid picture of both the characters and the forest setting in this almost ‘fable-like’ tale. The analogy is apparent between Finnegan, the young fox, and any young person setting out into our own society seeking independence, self-identity, and the answers to life’s questions. The engrossing narrative teaches us, along with Finnegan, a number of lessons about the society in which we live: People are often unwilling to help or get involved in another person’s problems; not everyone’s word can be trusted; people are often afraid of what they don’t understand; one can’t believe everything he or she hears; don’t allow the negativity of others to discourage you; don’t worry too much about what other people think; take pride in yourself and your accomplishments; be content with yourself; know that prejudice, defamation, stereotyping, and divisiveness are a scourge on society; and, finally, above all else, use and protect your own free will.
A delightful and insightful read!
A copy of this book was given to me in exchange for an honest review.