HOME SCHOOL BOOK REVIEW
Book: Love and Heartbreak on the Llano Estacado: A Love Story in West Texas
Author: Dr. T. D. Roberts
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, 2015
Language level: 1
(1=nothing objectionable; 2=common euphemisms and/or childish slang terms; 3=some cursing or profanity; 4=a lot of cursing or profanity; 5=obscenity and/or vulgarity)
Recommended reading level: Ages 16 and up
Rating: ***** 5 stars (EXCELLENT)
Reviewed by Wayne S. Walker
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Roberts, Dr. T. D. Love and Heartbreak on the Llano Estacado: A Love Story in West Texas (published in 2015 by CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform). It is March of 1950. Eighteen year old Dan Melon lives on a farm with his family near Boots on the flat, Llano Estacado (Staked Plain) mesa of the west Texas panhandle. His best friends Mary Filo, Sue Finch, and Joe Williams, who are fellow seniors at Boots High School and also all attend church together, are introduced to the subject of evolution by their biology teacher, the newly married Mrs. Smith, who says that “uneducated and thus ignorant, mainly religious people, who do not believe in evolution despite all this evidence…need to stop having blind, religious faith and begin to think logically.” Joe and Sue are going steady, even talking about eloping, and Dan, after dating several other girls with unsatisfactory results, seems attracted to Mary.
However, after graduation, with the boys planning to go to college and the girls intending to stay home and work, Joe and Sue break up, and Sue starts becomes interested in the new, young, unmarried preacher Ralph Rolo. At college, Dan begins seeing a girl named Joy who is a confirmed evolutionist, and he decides that he can no longer believe in God because of evolution. Then Joe is injured and comes home. He and Mary are drawn together and talk of marriage, but he is killed in a plane wreck, and in her sorrow she too appears to lose her faith. Is there any evidence that will convince Dan that evolution is not true? Can he in turn help Mary with her confusion? And what will happen with Sue and Ralph? The back of the book says, “This is a story about evolution and belief in God, and what these concepts can do to two young people in love.”
It is interesting to see how these young people discuss this important issue among themselves and with their friends, and then how they use the conclusions which they reach to help them make important decisions and deal with the problems and even tragedies that arise in their lives. Also, from a historical standpoint, there is a good picture generally of what life was like for teenagers back in the 1950s, although the underlying principles are timeless. And the emphasis upon maintaining moral purity in preparation for marriage is commendable. Author T. D. Roberts, now retired, holds a Ph.D. in Organic Chemistry from The Ohio State University and has work experiences as a Full Professor of Chemistry and Research Scientist. This is his first novel, but in the epilog he writes, “If you like this novel two more are in the works.”