by Randy Anderson
Careful is currently on tour with Worldwind Virtual Book Tours. The tour stops here today for an excerpt. Please be sure to visit the other tour stops as well.
For two decades Tyler Gibbons has been keeping a secret from his family. At the tender age of sixteen, Tyler embarks on a student exchange program. Sent to the Andean city of Ambato, Ecuador, he finds daily adventure as he tries to fit in at school, connect with his host family, and navigate through a world of beaches, volcanoes, and jungles. But tucked deep inside this year are events so profound, so unexpected, they forever shape the man he will become.
Now, 25 years later, his mother pulls these soaring tales from her son, exposing, for the first time, the source of a deep unhappiness. While these memories contain the wounds of an unresolved past, they also possess the power to heal his painful present.
Thoughtfully crafted and boldly told, Tyler’s journey takes the reader on a wild South American adventure, while illuminating a mother’s unyielding power to heal her child.
The terminal was absolute chaos. Luggage was brought in from the plane on carts, and people crowded around them, pushing and shoving to get a look. Suitcases were tossed aside in search of others and people were shouting. The decibel level became unbearable.
I managed to collect my bags without having to push anyone and headed to Immigration, where men in uniforms opened and rifled through all of my belongings. The officers would occasionally ask me a question, but I didn’t understand what they were saying, so I just smiled, nodded my head, and said sí. They could have been asking me if I had a dead body in my luggage, and I’d have said yes.
When the invasive suitcase search was complete, I walked to passport control. Reaching under my shirt, I pulled out my money belt, unzipped it, and found my passport. I was trembling. Both from the excitement of the moment and fear that I’d exposed my secret hiding spot.
I handed the man my passport and my visa paperwork. He quickly read over the documents and pulled out his big stamp. This was the moment I’d been waiting for, the first stamp in my passport. This stamp was going to be proof. Proof that I was here. Proof that I was brave. Proof that I was.
Bam! His stamp came down hard on a randomly selected page in the book. He closed my passport, slapped a flat hand on top, and slid it toward me.
I grabbed it from the table and quickly opened it up to admire my proof. The image was smeared and the ink had bled onto the facing page, but it was legible. Not that I could read it, because it was in Spanish. But it was legible. I held it open to dry as I followed the line of people exiting the terminal.
By Scott H.
Careful is both a gripping coming of age story and a tender exploration of the relationship between mother and son. Chapters alternate between the past - set in Ecuador, where the protagonist, Tyler, was an exchange student - and the present, where tragic circumstances compel Tyler to disclose the painful secrets of his youth to his mother. Both settings are equally captivating. In Ecuador we travel with Tyler to exotic places and feel his joy and pain as unforeseen events force him to leave behind youthful frivolity and face head-on issues that he is not yet mature enough to cope with. In the present, the reader experiences the deep emotions that Tyler unleashes as he unburdens himself, providing answers to lingering questions that have long-troubled his mother and forging new bonds in the process. Anderson creates a wonderful pace throughout the novel, skilfully building tension and expectation but never leaving the reader hanging for too long. The characters are multi-dimensional and, as a result, there are many tender and poignant moments. This book will appeal to young people who dream of independence and adventure, to parents who long to understand and connect with their children, and to everyone in-between. Definitely a very satisfying read!
About the Author
A performer, playwright, and producer Randy founded The Beggars Group in 1999. During the following decade he produced over two dozen productions including; The Expatriates, Do It!, and Theadora, She Bitch of Byzantium.
Plays he’s written include; New Year’s Resolutions, Homlessness Homosexuals and Heretics, Testing Average, Kill The President, Armor of Wills, and The Dwelling.
In 2011, he published his memoir, On Making Off. His second book, Careful, was released May 2014. If you want to know more, reach out! Randy currently lives in New York City where he writes, reasons, and reacts.