Ravenhill Court by David R Beshears is the second short story/screenplay adaptation, I’ve read of his in the last couple of weeks and certainly this author is growing on me. In this story, a middle-aged Ben Foster returns to the world of his childhood, Ravenhill Court, a middle-class, suburban, Californian cul-de-sac. All the houses in the street are abandoned, the weeds grow wild and doors hang open or are long gone. Ben opens his friend’s Peter’s journal from 1964 and his mind travels back to when it all began; when four young teenagers discovered that their world was not what it seemed to be and they themselves were not what they thought they were. Ben, his sister Julie, best friend Peter and Louis, are caught in some sort of dimensional shift that they don’t understand and don’t know what to do about. The Professor, who lives down the street will provide them with a clue as to where to start looking and so, their incredible adventure begins.
As I read Ravenhill Court by David R Beshears, I couldn’t help but think of that wonderful movie, The Truman Show, starring Jim Carrey. There was certainly an element of The Truman Show shining through this work – not everything is as it seems. One thing that struck me about this book was the dialogue between the young friends, which was witty, cleverly written and totally appropriate for the age and the period. I almost found myself back in 1964 and thinking about how I was way back then. I could certainly identify with Ben, Julie, Peter and Louis. I particularly enjoyed the Professor. Perhaps it was one of those days when I couldn’t help but see this story as a screenplay, but I also kept thinking of the brilliant Christopher Lloyd as Dr Emmett Brown in the Back to the Future franchise. The plot was cleverly woven and the young adults certainly had some questioning to do about who they were, what they were doing, and what their place in this Universe was. This is an excellent science fiction/fantasy story, particularly suitable for the young adult market, but equally applicable to all ages. Clever, witty, and sometimes, dark humour, will always have a place on our bookshelves.