Summary: When seventeen year-old Mike finds out his mother is having an affair with his father’s co-worker, he’s determined to gather evidence and tell his father what’s going on. His spy skills and best friend Badger help him get the dirt on his mother’s relationship with Janos, but even his alternate identity Arthur Guthrie isn’t able to deduce the truth of the situation. The investigation does yield another surprise though, new friends and a potential girlfriend. As everything starts unravelling and the truth shines like a light in the darkness, Mike is faced with making amends and decisions about how his life will be in the future.
Number of Pages: 251
Age Range: 15-17
Review: Even after a second reading, I’m still not exactly clear about everything David Richards was trying to convey.
I wish I understood more about what Phillip was trying to do at work, although I did grasp that his work would help people discover more about the building blocks of life. His hope was also that this knowledge would enable the building of new life.
Mike also eluded me as a character. He was a loner with a bit of an obsession with Catholicism and spying on others. Because he doesn’t have a lot of friends he ends up spying on his parents, tapping their phone line and taking surveillance pictures as needed. It’s creepy and though others don’t know about this aspect of his life, there are suspicions that he will be the next Columbine-esque shooter. This seemed like a leap to me until his father’s Differential Identity Disorder is revealed. Is this a family trait or are Mike and Phillip just eccentric with a penchant for obsessive behaviour? Why does Mike call his parents by their first names?
I liked Angie though. She had some sass and turned out to be a good friend and sounding board for Mike. Like Phyllis does for Phillip, Angie seems to be able take Mike as he is.
The Source of Light had potential, but fell apart a bit in the execution. I was lost a lot, and had trouble properly appreciating the cool aspect of teens acting like professional spies to ferret out the shady corporate dealings of Janos. I did like Mike’s ability to think logically in some respects, and his thoroughness in creating an alternate identity for himself.
I also wished I could have known more about Janos. Throughout the book he is portrayed as a cad, but in the end he turns out to be the guy who has everyone’s best interests at heart, especially Phillip’s.
“Angie’s face turned up into a smile. ‘How did I ever get mixed up with you two?’ She shook her head. ‘I mean, spying on people, taking pictures of your mom making out; eavesdropping on phone calls; and now discussing my – geez – plumage, in a bird-watching blind.’ She burst out laughing and sagged back against the tree.” – Angie from The Source of Light by David Richards, page 163
“His son was speaking to him, or so it seemed, not a psycho teenager. Phillip had wanted to pull Mike back from the brink at school. He’d learned that much this morning. Even when Mike had double blasted the horn refusing to throw out the guns – even when he’d been certain his son was a killer – he’d only wanted to save him. Love him. At least he knew that.” – Phillip from The Source of Life by David Richard, page 225
The Source of Light by David Richards, is published by Thistledown Press, (2011).