Chardie Cat is an author and a blogger. He used to work in the fields of PR, Publishing & Internet Marketing. Now, he is a freelance writer.
An Homage to Author Sir Steven W. Wise
This is my tribute to Sir Steven W. Wise, the author of Long Train Passing and many other engrossing masterpieces, the man who introduced me to a few characters that opened my eyes to some significant realities of life.
Just last night, I was looking for Mr. Wise on social media platforms and was happy to finally see his face on Facebook. I tried to reach him because I was excited to tell him about this article and ask him if he would like to read it first before I publish it. However, a few hours later, his daughter Stacee replied to my message and broke the news to me that Mr. Wise had already passed away three years prior. My heart sank, and I felt like part of me was broken.
I read his book and wrote this article about it a few years ago. Only recently, however, have I felt the need to share it with the world. Mr. Wise will not read this, but I know he will be happy that in his lifetime, he touched my heart through his book.
A Poignant Tale of Life, Love, and Everything In Between
I am more of a fantasy-adventure fanatic than a biography enthusiast, so my fascination with accounts of literal warfare and military combat is usually trifling. But as a person whose previous career offered no option but to read and decipher hundreds of war-inspired biographical narratives and unbearable memoirs, exploring the world of war and the notable battles in human history has become a “getting-used-to-it” feat. Through all these accounts, I get a glimpse of the frightening carnage, wretched broken homes, barren nations, and heart-crushing situations of people in suffering before peace is finally obtained.
At first, I thought author Steven W. Wise’s Long Train Passing was, like any other story from this genre that I’ve read, a humdrum and most of the time boring read. The unveiling of its storyline, however, was a surprise, and it hooked me until the end. I never expected it to become one of my favorites.
I've read some downbeat online reviews about this book, but I don't care. I know now that, despite its limitations, this book will teach its readers valuable lessons about life, love, and everything in between—especially achieving big dreams and finding freedom—just like it did to me.
This provocatively touching tale drew me in from the moment I met Annabelle, the tale's protagonist. A childhood accident leads her to suffer the grueling and tormenting reality of learning to live with physical deficiencies. Despite what she has been through, she conquers her eccentricity to become a living testament of God’s love and a source of inspiration to other people.
But Jewell Cole—a child protagonist who is an intelligent pupil—brings to her life more challenges and changes of monumental proportions. When he enters her classroom, she knows that this boy is carrying a burden on his shoulder. Later on, she discovers that Jewell is enduring pain caused by his wicked father, Jubal.
At once, the story broke my heart when I found out that Jubal deprives his son of his freedom and forbids him to discover who he really is and what he can become. Jubal inhibits Jewell’s gifts, represses his real spirit, and disallows him to hold and experience everything the world could offer at his very young age. His refusal to let his son live for his dreams made me hate fathers like him because I believe that a father is supposedly a model of strength and courage and not an instiller of fear and restraint in the youthful minds and young lives.
In every tragedy, there is a hero. In Jewell’s life, he meets Annabelle Allen, the teacher who explicitly empathizes what loneliness and exclusion can make of a fragile heart. He also meets Emmett, the gravedigger. These two serve as the heroes who encourage him to survive. It wasn’t a good start for Annabelle and Jewell. But together with Emmett, Jewell finds the love and care his father couldn’t give him. That love and care loosen Jewell’s inhibitions and let him live with openness while learning to love and to forgive. More than that, he realizes he can dream bigger than the sky. And in the end, their story leaves the reader with wonderful lessons worth emulating.
In this book, Mr. Wise did not just write a conventional story set against the backdrop of World War II and the Korean War. Long Train Passing substantially captures diverse images of the complexities of human existence splattered with melancholic flashbacks of the past where poignant events took place—occurrences far more tender and cavernous than the unspeakable images of war.
As the story unravels the metaphors of life through the unique relationship between two handicapped beings and highlights the struggles of a young boy, it gives me inspiration, hope, and delight.
Chardie Cat (author) from Northern Mindanao, Philippines on April 23, 2020:
I really wanted to give the book a review that it deserves. The same goes for the author. I am just grateful I had the chance to read it.
Liz Westwood from UK on April 23, 2020:
This is an excellent review. You have skilfully managed to give an interesting introduction and insight into this book. It's enough to interest potential readers, but without giving too much away about the plot.