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Book Review: Mighty Mac by Marc Waldman

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Faster than a speeding bully. More powerful than an evil motive. Able to leap tall siblings in a single bound…

No, it’s not a bird, it’s not a plane— it’s just mild-mannered “social reject” Mac Coolidge, boy blunderer and super-multitasker: doing homework, performing household chores, making a bad impression on the girl of his dreams, hoisting a “ten pound piece of chalk” to solve a math problem on the blackboard, and suffering the torment and taunts of the neighborhood hooligans. Not to mention daydreaming in class about having the ability to “fly like Superman or be as fast as The Flash.

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Lately, such burdens of boyhood–as chronicled in Marc Waldman’s amiable and action-packed Mighty Mac–have preoccupied Mac most of all, lately. Call it a mid-school crisis, the bitter-patter of little feat, call it what you will–deep down Mac knows he was meant for greatness. “I was meant to be a hero, and not a zero,” he ponders. And if it means a few high school thugs get beat up in the process of a little unfriendly fired-up power trip—after he’s done his homework, naturally– well… that’s just icing on the piece-of-cake life that awaits him.

Not that Mac needs to wait too long. Great expectations are thrust upon him sooner rather than later during the occasion of a big Mac attack, with Mac on the receiving end being beleaguered by the local disaffected youth. Seemingly emerging from nowhere to Mac’s rescue, however, Mac is the enigmatic Jake, a take-charge guy who looks “like an older version” of our put-upon protagonist. Intervening in and untangling the pile of brawling and busy bodies, Jake puts in the finishing retaliatory touches–but he isn’t done with Mac, yet.

Promising bigger and better things in store, Jake invites Mac to join a secret society of Protectors, who uphold a mission to safeguard society and fight for “the little guys.” But “there’s more to it than that,” according to the highest muckety-muck of the organization. Which Mac–who ostensibly has never heard the adage “be careful what you wish for”— learns in quick enough order, along with his new sense of duty and responsibility.

But before Mac can heed his higher calling, he is ceremoniously bestowed with something more aerodynamic to slip on, a secret suit that will give him such super powers as the ability to fly and become invisible. But not at the same time, and that can be a problem–as is the fact that Mom inadvertently tossed out the instructions to the suit. Setbacks already–and he’s barely set out! Seems like this super hero stuff is more complicated than he thought…

It gets even more complex as Waldman—in addition to juggling enjoyable subplots and secondary characters that complement and helpfully propel the narrative–cues the top-secrecy and secret agents, while waiting in the wings is the requisite nemesis, a foil to run afoul of the law and decent society. In Mighty Mac the dastardly villain is the nefarious Commandant, who is ready to put into motion his terrorist plot to destroy Washington, D.C. And it’s up to Mac, with his new super powers and expertise, to stop him. But are his smaller-scale exploits like invisible pranks and getting back at riff-raff any kind of preparation for such a monumental undertaking? Only one way to find out, as Mighty Mac sets out to save the day and make things right, just as events are getting worse before they get better. If they get better, that is…

Targeted for early teens and juveniles ages nine to 12, Mighty Mac is a taut and action-packed, fast-paced adventure that also serves a larger purpose as Waldman attempts, and largely succeeds, to subtly instill and reiterate a zero-to-hero message of encouragement, as well as a lesson in the value of resourcefulness and setting goals. I guess the modern parlance would refer to these notions as self-esteem and empowerment, but here it refreshingly steers clear of infusing a false sense of self-aggrandizement and entitlement.

Available at Comfort Publishing
And at Amazon.com

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