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Reviewed by Rosie Malezer for Readers' Favorite
Humble Beginnings is the first installment in The Prodigy Series, written by John F. Thomas. After a 10-year-old student, John Prodigy, receives yet another beating from the school bully, Tsang, John is escorted home after school by the teacher who’d broken up the fight, Mr. Han. After much discussion, Mrs. Prodigy finally agrees that it would be in John’s best interests to learn fighting skills, which would also enable him to take part in the upcoming Affinity Trials. After defending another student – Min – John finds himself with a new friend, which is a concept quite foreign to him. It is not long, however, before John is looking forward to the trials in order to prove himself to his peers.
I did quite enjoy the general storyline of Humble Beginnings. Obviously very lonely, and living in a foreign country, a young student is routinely (and seriously) bullied at school, while living a very sheltered life at home. Becoming the target of a bully is difficult enough, but his mother is overly-protective at home, forbidding him to raise his fists to defend himself. Sadly, bullying is problematic in many places, especially in schools, and targeting a child who is forbidden to defend himself is a low act indeed. I was relieved to see that the child’s mother finally sees the need to lift the ban, enabling her child to learn to protect himself from outside dangers in the world. Not only did John’s confidence increase, but he gains respect and friendship in the process. Humble Beginnings could draw quite a large audience in readership as it is akin to popular tales such as The Karate Kid, and carries an important message about bullying, and knowing how to properly defend yourself.