Sunday, July 24, 2011
Last Bus Out by Beck McDowell: Review by Anachronist
Mini review: Last Bus Out by Beck McDowell
The book presents a true story of a black teenager, Courtney Miles, a boy from one the projects of New Orleans, a place called Algiers. He was one of those deceptively common people who in the times of troubles, instead of creating havoc, decided to do something not only for themselves but also for the whole community. Although he didn’t have any driving license at that time he still managed to save over 300 people in Algiers during the disastrous Hurricane Katrina (August 2005) driving a school bus along with his friends, Jabbar Gibson and Nas. As it often is the case Jabbar got a lot of media attention whereas Courtney kept quiet about the role he played and was omitted. This book tries to present his side of the story and also reminding about these sad events.
What I liked:
The main hero, young Courtney, was presented in a very moving way, with his full, sad background and inner turmoil.
The novel is richly illustrated with photos and links which certainly add to the credibility of the account.
It was a very uplifting read; the struggle of Courtney to get a better life and not copy the mistakes of his family and friends I found really heroic. Sometimes more than his private rescue operation.
What I didn’t like:
The jargon boys are using while talking among themselves might be a problem for non- Americans. If you listen to hip-hop you will be ok, though.
It seemed to me that the author couldn’t decide whether or not to present the narration more like a document or more like a novel. As a result the book was, in my opinion, a bit too long, with simply too many photos of documents, rats, politicians, hurricanes, different links etc. They distracted my attention from the main hero.
A truly gripping, real-life story but it could have been told better…a good editor would know what to do. I still wish Courtney all the best!