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Reviewed by Grant Leishman for Readers' Favorite
The Colony by Nanette L. Avery is a deep dive into the psyche of a disturbed young boy. It all started for the boy with a note telling him to meet someone at The Bell Jar. Not even knowing what a bell jar was, the boy was confused and it was only after asking his mother that he discovered The Bell Jar was actually the title of a famous book written by Sylvia Plath. So began his introduction to Frito and the colony. The colony was a group of children who were in some way abused by their parents but had somehow resolved the situation that was causing them grief. Frito assured the boy that there were many of them out there, just like him. Both the boy and his sister were caught up in a life that was not good for any child. With no sign of their father and a drug-addict, alcoholic mother whose biggest concern was her massive garden-plot, inside the house, where she grew her cannabis that she sold, the children were lacking any real supervision, love, or parental concern. With the help of the old man next door, affectionately known as the dragon, a friendly tramp, and of course the boys of the colony, Yoshi and his sister were determined to find a way to end their mother’s abuse and lack of concern, once and for all – but, things don’t always go quite to plan, now do they?
With more than a passing nod to Psycho and Norman Bates, I found The Colony to be a fascinating and at times mesmerizing read. Nanette L. Avery does a superb job of building her two main characters, the young boy and his sister, almost to the point of forgetting that they were mere children as one reads the story. I was captivated by the character of the dragon and was able to picture quite a few similar characters to him that I’d come across over the years. Although the story was a little short for my liking, what it lacked in substance it certainly made up for in the punch it packed. The thought processes of the young boy were readily identifiable and empathy for their plight was easy to conjure up. Once I was able to come to terms with what the story entailed, it flowed beautifully and was an easy and enjoyable read. I haven’t read anything from this author previously but will definitely be keeping an eye out for her work in the future. This was an excellent read, with a fascinating premise, and one I can highly recommend.