A Book To Remember: Long Train Passing by Steven W. Wise
A Homage to Sir Steven W. Wise, Author
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 very few characters that opened my eyes to some significant realities of life.
Just last night, I was looking for Mr. Wise over 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 asked him if he would like to read it first before I publish it. However, 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 ago. My heart sank and I felt like part of me was broken.
I have read his book and written this article, which is a review about it, a few years ago. I don’t know, but it’s just recently when I felt I had 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 books fanatic than a biography enthusiast, so my fascination with accounts of literal warfare and military combats 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, the world of wars and the notable battles in human history have become a “getting-use-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 was, like any other stories 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. What’s more unexpected was, it has become one of my favorites. I have read some downbeat online reviews about this book, but I didn’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 on making and achieving big dreams and finding freedom—just like the way it did to me. Long Train Passing
This provocatively touching tale has drawn me to its overflowing emotions from when I met with Annabelle, the woman protagonist, to the twists and turns of events. A childhood accident has led her to suffer the grueling and tormenting reality of how to live with physical deficiencies. Despite what she had been through, she conquered her eccentricity to become a living testament of God’s love and source of inspiration to other people. But Jewell Cole—the child protagonist who is an intelligent pupil—will bring 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 will discover that Jewell is enduring the pain caused by his wicked father, Jubal.
At once, the story broke my heart when I found out Jubal deprives his son of his freedom and forbids him to discover who he really is and what he can become—to be his true self. Jubal will inhibit Jewell’s gifts, repress his real spirit and disallow 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, or people, 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, and Emmett, the gravedigger. They are more than enough of a hero to encourage him to survive. It wasn’t a good start for Annabelle and Jewell. But together with Emmett, Jewell found 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 will leave wonderful lessons worth emulating.
In this book, Mr. Wise has not written 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—they were occurrences far 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 the struggles of a young boy, it gives me inspiration, hope and delight.