Reviewed by Leslie Granier for Reader Views (12/09)
Newlyweds Stan and Jenny embark on a two-week trip to New Eden, a remote island in the Pacific Ocean. This is a unique vacation in that all visitors will be living off the land with no amenities such as plumbing or electricity. Upon arriving on the island, they are greeted by their hosts Kimo and Nani who show them around and introduce them to the other couples who are currently staying there. Living the simple life is fairly pleasant until an unexplained weather phenomenon destroys the crops and the radio they use for outside communication. When no one returns to pick up the visitors, they conclude there was a disaster that has possibly wiped out the rest of the world. The stranded tourists must learn to live and work together, while at the same time trying to decide if they should attempt to leave the island in hopes of finding another civilization.
I thoroughly enjoyed the first part of “Stan’s Leap.” I liked learning about the different characters and seeing how they interacted with each other. It was interesting watching them begin anew after the storm. Seeing them experience how people lived centuries ago was intriguing. The author does a fine job of letting the reader get inside the heads of many of the characters. Being able to know everyone’s secrets and their reasons for going to the island was fun. However, when the focus of the book turned to the second generation of inhabitants of the island, the pace of the story slowed down considerably. It was strange, but enlightening, to realize that this new generation was completely unaware of everyday objects like pots or cars because they had never been exposed to them.
“Stan’s Leap” is appropriate for adults and older teenagers. Younger readers will get a good history lesson regarding how societies are formed and how the citizens must decide to elect leaders and implement laws for the good of everyone. For the most part this is a serious book, but there are some humorous situations.
“Stan’s Leap” by Tom Duerig is a book in which the reader can truly become involved. The author’s depiction of the difficulties faced by the tourists is vivid and realistic. It is truly a portrayal of determination in a seemingly hopeless situation.