HOME SCHOOL BOOK REVIEW
Book: Why Save Alexander
Author: Phillip Telfer
Publisher: Elm Hill, 2019
ISBN-13: 978-1400328284 Hardcover
ISBN-10: 1400328284 Hardcover
ISBN-13: 978-1400328277 Paperback
ISBN-10: 1400328276 Paperback
Language level: 1
(1=nothing objectionable; 2=common euphemisms and/or childish slang terms; 3=some cursing and/or profanity; 4=a lot of cursing and/or profanity; 5=obscenity and/or vulgarity)
Recommended reading level: Ages 14 and up
Rating: ***** 5 stars
(5 stars=EXCELLENT; 4 stars=GOOD; 3 stars=FAIR; 2 stars=POOR; 1 star=VERY POOR; no stars=NOT RECOMMENDED)
Reviewed by Wayne S. Walker
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Telfer, Phillip. Why Save Alexander (Published in 2019 by Elm Hill, an imprint of Thomas Nelson, a trademark of HarperCollins Children’s Publishing Inc., Nashville, TN). Seventeen-year-old Alexander Brooks Jr., or Alex, is somewhat of a spoiled brat. His parents are divorced. His father, Alexander Sr., owns Paradigm Technology Innovations Inc., an up-and-coming tech business in Silicon Valley outside of San Francisco, CA, that is about to launch a revolutionary product. Alex lives in Los Angeles, CA, with his mother Allison, a Hollywood television producer. The teen is a hardcore gamer, so his mom casts her son in a reality show about young gaming hopefuls seeking fame and fortune. On a flight to Seoul, South Korea, for a world-wide gaming conference, he has an encounter with an elderly missionary lady named Agnes who talks to him about God and gives him a pocket New Testament.
Alex isn’t much interested in what Agnes has to say but accepts her gift. Then when he reaches Seoul, he is kidnapped by three men whom he mistakenly thinks are his father’s agents but are actually crooks who plan to ransom him for Mr. Brooks’s new technology. They take him to what they think is a deserted island, but his abductors are killed by the natives, while Alex is adopted by an elderly man named Setiawan, who happens to be a Christian. However, the other islanders don’t trust the foreign boy and talk about killing him too. What happens to Alex? Can this hardcore gamer survive a real-world crisis? Will he ever be rescued? Author Phillip Telfer is a creative communicator who now directs the non-profit ministry Media Talk 101, wrote the book Media Choices: Convictions or Compromise?, produced and co-directed the award-winning documentary Captivated: Finding Freedom in a Media Captive Culture, and founded the annual Christian Worldview Film Festival and Filmmakers Guild.
This coming-of-age story is filled with adventure, mystery, danger, romance, survival, despair, and Providence. It is good to see Alex’s character growth as he goes from being an obnoxious, self-centered jerk with an over-inflated ego, through realizing the cavernous void in his life that nothing seems to fill, to gaining a new perspective on what it means to become a man and what it takes to be a hero. The reader follows Alex as he faces a life or death struggle in a foreign culture that doesn’t have a power grid and is forced to grow up the hard way through extraordinary circumstances, which cause him to re-evaluate what’s important in life, his need for God, and the positive influence of older mentors. The real question is, for those who truly know Alexander, why would anyone want to save him? The plot is unique and has some unexpected twists but contains some enduring values that undergird the story.