Esse Quam Videri

Children - Preteen
470 Pages
Reviewed on 09/04/2009
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    Book Review

Reviewed by Anne Boling for Readers' Favorite

This is a saga about a boy in the 1940's trying to become a man.  Jaycee is sixteen years old.  His parents are divorced and he struggles in school with his studies and fitting in.  He is just trying to find his place in the world.  His life starts to change when he meets Calyx Townsend at the train station.  Their relationship has him questioning everything he has known to this point.  During that summer he is taken under the wing of a crusty, old mariner named Jules LeBlanc who becomes his mentor.  Jules introduces him to the wide open ocean and poetry.  New doors are opening in Jaycee's mind.  Soon, he heads to prep school where he initially struggles until a major setback opens his eyes to the possibility of his succeeding.  His eventual roommate, a southerner named Stuart Longstreet further opens his mind to the wonders of learning new things and succeeding.  These people in his life help him to understand the motto of his school Esse Quam Videri, "to be rather than to seem to be".

This was a decent story.  I had a really hard time getting into it.  Wilcox Thomas is a fine writer but I struggled to get all the way through this book.  The love story between Jaycee and Calyx made them  seem older than sixteen.  Most of the material was just really drawn out.  Maybe, it would be more interesting to me if I were still a teenager in school.