“Through those books I travelled the world, laughed and cried, learned about life, good and evil, right and wrong. I came to understand how the power of words and stories could leave you transfixed, transported, and transformed. This may sound a tad melodramatic, but to me, the bookmobile was the weekly medication that kept me sane. Without it, I wouldn’t be teaching English or Writer’s Craft today.” – Bobbie Davenport
Albatross / Written by Terry Fallis / Published: August 13, 2019
Adventurous. Hilarious. Heartwarming and dare I say wacky; deciding to begin the new year by reading Albatross was a phenomenal decision.
Albatross is a coming-of-age story, introducing the reader to Adam Coryell, a normal high school student who is also an aspiring writer. Naturally Adam’s life is turned upside down when he meets Bobbie Davenport, his new homeroom, physical education, and Writer’s Craft teacher who reads a scientific study written by a Swedish professor who claims that certain people are built to excel in at least one sport. By evaluating certain measurements on the body one can determine what sport said person is good at; however, Professor Gunnarsson the scientist and author behind the study has never encountered anyone who would be good at sports.
Being inquisitive, Bobbie, decides to measure the appendages of several of her students; quickly realizing that according to the study and by Adam’s measurements he would be talented at golf, a sport that he has never participated in. The two decide to visit a golf course where they realize Adam does have a natural talent at golf. From there the book blasts off and through the first and second parts of the novel we see Adam’s life traveling the world, going on the PGA tour, and we even get an action-packed attempted kidnapping scene.
Adam is a golf prodigy, yet he really dislikes the sport; only continuing to pursue it because it is lurcative and will eventually allow him to pursue his dreams of being a writer. This ultimately causes others in the sport to despise Adam and his natural talents.
While golf is a central theme throughout the novel, it’s essentially an allegory for how we as humans make sacrifices and sometimes get trapped in situations to better our lives.
In all honesty I wasn’t sure that I would like this novel due to it being for a Young Adult audience; however, it didn’t take long to realize that this is a universal story, nor did it take long for me to fall in love with the characters. I had dreams that I was in the story, friends with the main characters. I woke up each morning eager to find out what would happen next. Not only did this novel get added to my favorites shelf, but it also got added to the coveted reread pile.
Albatross is a National Bestseller, and the author Terry Fallis is a two-time Leacock Medal winner. I look forward to reading more of Fallis’ work. I also wish his work was more widely available in the United States. Last but not least I need to thank Ariel Bissett and the Books Unbound podcast for introducing me to this incredible book. It’s much appreciated!