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by David Lomax
For as long as anyone can remember, a skipping song has warned children about the dangers of Prince Harming. “Lover sweet, bloody feet, running down the silver street. Leave tomorrow if you’re called—truth and wisdom in the walls. Crack your head, knock you dead, then Prince Harming’s hungers fed.”
When Kenny moves to a new town, he is shocked when his father finds a dead baby hidden in the wall of the carriage house. But what shocks him more is the note that is found with the baby. “Help me make it not happen, Kenny. Help me stop him. Clive is dead all over again.”
Kenny embarks on a journey through different time periods with the help of his newfound friend Luka and a time travel mirror. The two teens hope to save the baby and figure out how the skipping song is related to the child’s death. They soon discover that Prince Harming is not just a fairy tale character, but a living man who is out to kill Kenny and anyone else that stands in his way.
Backward Glass is an interesting story. However, there are many different characters in different time periods, which makes keeping track of people and events a little difficult. In the end, all of the pieces of the story fall into place to give the reader a satisfying ending.
- Kenny tells about his father’s first kiss. “Ten years old, and he chased her into a scrap yard and kissed her and she tripped him.”
- When Kenny is saying goodbye to a girl from another time period she, “stepped forward, grabbed my shoulders, and kissed me square on the mouth. It was awkward, and it wasn’t a long kiss like you see in the movies, and maybe that’s all I’m going to tell you about it because maybe it’s none of your business. It was good, though.”
- Kenny and his father find a dead baby hidden in the wall, “like someone killed it and hid it there. With a note asking me for help.”
- As Kenny and Luka step out of the time travel mirror, a man holds a gun and threatens to kill Kenny. Luka “reached for the gun, now pointed toward the ceiling, and covered both of the men’s hands in her own, but from one of them—I couldn’t tell which—came a sharp kick to her midsection that sent her flying to crack her head on the cement floor of the basement.” The two men precede to fight over the gun. Then Kenny is shot. The shooter says he had to kill Kenny because Kenny killed his wife. This fight scene continues for several pages.
- Kenny is jumped by several teenagers. “I fought back like I had nothing to lose . . . When Boyd Fenton broke my nose, I stepped back, pulled it as straight as I could and asked if he was done yet.” In the end, another boy arrives and helps Kenny fight off his tormentors.
- Wald carries a “wild man” who is tied up and gagged. The man breaks free and tries to hurt Kenny. “He thrashed frantically, trying to hit me in any way he could. His head slammed against mine, and some part of him dug into my stomach.”
- When Kenny’s father was younger a man attacked him. “He twisted Brain’s arm, checking his lunge, and brought a quick fist down onto the side of his head, slamming him back against the corner of a brick. Brain slumped.”
- Kenny pushes a woman into the mirror. However, he knows that this means she will die because the mirror in the other time period is under water. “I reached for her, but all I could feel was water and pain.”
- A man goes back in time with the intent to kill his infant self. “All I need to do is never live. I kill the baby and its’ no crime. It’s suicide.” Later in the story, the man is holding his baby self when someone tries to grab the baby from him. The man, “gave her a push with his foot, sending her flying into a large chest.” Later the man, “began to topple back . . . cradling the baby, instinctively bringing it close as he fell . . . Little Curtis and his older self lay spread out on the floor, their hands close enough to exchange bright flashes. Both were convulsing slightly.”
- A young boy tries to take a girl into the time travel mirror. “When she couldn’t pass in, he grew angry and smashed her head repeatedly into its unbreakable surface. She never recovered completely.”
Drugs and Alcohol
- One of the characters smokes a cigarette.
- One of the characters gets stuck in a time period that is not his own when, “fed too much beer at a year-end celebration by a stranger . . . he came back to the mirror too late and found himself trapped ten years in his own past.”
- Kenny talks about a vacant house that kids, “had been going there to drink or make out for a couple of years.”
- When Kenny’s father finds a dead baby hide behind a wall he says, “Oh Christ, Oh Christ. Oh, Jesus, Kenny, look at the little thing.”
- When Luka’s mother thinks she is on the phone, her mother yells, “Hell’s the matter with you?”
- A character talks about how he found, “that goddamn diary when I was nine years old.”
- When discussing time travel, a character says, “Christ. Time travel—and I wanted to sell comic books. Go on H.G. Wells. Take it. Save the baby. Maybe there’s a reason the damn mirror didn’t open up for me.”
- Kenny tells a teen named Chuck that his sister will marry a Goldstein. Chuck replies, “You saying my sister’s going to marry a Jew?” When Kenny asks if he cares, Chuck replies, “Nah, but it don’t matter how welcome I am in the family, none of them better try cutting part of my pee-pee off.”
- Holy crap and hell are occasionally.
- • None
- • Two characters discuss the rules of time travel and how people cannot get in contact with their other self. “It’s like you can’t mess up time,” Luka said. “Keisha says it’s God, but I asked her where exactly the time-travel mirrors come into the Bible. Melissa says it’s fate, but I don’t even think it’s’ that.”