Stan’s Leap by Tom Duerig – Book Review


This book was recommended to me by my friend and author, Tom Duerig.  Tom Duerig is a scientist by training, specializing in Nitinol, a shape memory alloy.  He is the founder and president of Nitinol Devices and Components (NDC).  This was his first book of fiction and he asked me for my honest, unbiased opinion.  I found the book so wonderful that I decided I needed to write the review.

I will say that the best parts are a bit slow in coming, but they come and eventually it becomes a sheer page turner.  As the book progresses one sees that the author matures as well.  After the first few slow moving pages, the first 35% of the book is interesting with lots of good information.  The story gradually becomes more interesting as it becomes clear that 20 or so vacationers initially looking for total immersion in polynesian resort experience, now are finding themselves stranded without any hope to reconnect with the outside world.

The resort experience that was supposed to be a short enjoyable vacation and a fun challenge at the beginning, now became a survival issue.  Learning the skills became essential for their survival.  There are plenty of good lessons, should you ever get stuck on an island without any modern amenities, including phones, radios, clothes, tooth brushes, shoes and everything else that you can think of.  You can make torches and ink from candlenut trees, rope from hibiscus, use ti plant to wrap food for cooking, use tutu trees to make pareos or cloth and so on.  Where the story comes up short initially is in character development.  The reader somehow does not feel connected enough to care for the stranded people.  

All that changes dramatically at about 50% mark, as Adam, son of Jenny and Stan, emerges as the main character and also the narrator, as the story moves forward.  All other characters now emerge with their own personalities and depth.  Story also starts moving at a faster pace as the stranded group moves from stone age to the age of metal and tools.  Aspiration grows among some group members, to learn about the outside world.

When the contact is finally made with the outside world, the stranded vacationers who had moved back to the stone age of the past, now find that they have the future to catch up to.  Two major companies Google and Yahoo had gone out of business and the younger generation did not even know what internet was.  This book takes the readers on quite a journey and the lessons in sailing and surviving on an island, come as added bonus.

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