Treasure of the Blue Whale
Regal House Publishing (2020)
Reviewed by Tammy Ruggles for Reader Views (1/2021)
“Treasure of the Blue Whale,” by Steven Mayfield, is an energetic coming-of-age novel that is about more than a whale. Connor O’Halloran is young, but he’s smart and resourceful, and you needed to be to survive in the times of the Great Depression. His tourist town is going under, but he hatches a plan with the town leaders to save everyone and everything they can. It’s about treasures lost, treasures found, and treasures of the heart discovered. You will go with Connor on his life journey as he encounters the ups and downs of adolescence, including Fiona, the girl who has his heart. And then there’s the time he almost goes to jail over stealing a letter opener. He and his little brother struggle with a mother who has mental illness, and he learns some new lessons about life and survival.
Mayfield is an award-winning author who has crafted a poignant story about small-town life that could rival “It’s A Wonderful Life.” Rich in character, details, and setting, this novel has a Norman Rockwell sense of time and place so real you feel as if you could step into it.
The author’s use of humor is a welcome touch to the sometimes-melancholy era of the Great Depression. The dialogue is distinct and full of life, and there is almost a fairytale feel to the book as a whole. I admire the sense of community the author conveys, and the situations that the townspeople find themselves in. Connor is more on the jovial side, and this characteristic is important to the plot and the message. One of my favorite parts is his passages about summer and friends playing together. One of my favorite messages is that it costs nothing to be kind and reach out to help others. Money doesn’t buy happiness, and monetary treasure can be lost in an instant, while nontangible treasure lasts forever.
“Treasure of the Blue Whale,” by Steven Mayfield, is a book you’ll want to read more than once and would definitely want to discuss in a book club or classroom.