Written for young readers, The Inconvenient Adventures of Uncle Chestnut contains 4 short stories told by Jack, whose Uncle Chestnut comes to take care of him while his parents are away. Whether traveling, chasing after hats, or embarking on everyday adventures, Uncle Chestnut teaches a unique perspective on life and the world to his nephew.
Based on the writings and actual events in the life of G.K. Chesterton, this fictional book presents the wit and wisdom of the British writer in a considerably easier style for young people to read. Told through the eyes of his fictional nephew Jack, The Inconvenient Adventures of Uncle Chestnut introduces readers young and old to the writings of G.K. Chesterton, the British author whose prolific writing inspired C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, Alfred Hitchcock, and others.
And how delightful! Author Paul Nowak has graciously granted me an interview!
Thank you Paul for taking the time to join us at One Persons Journey Through a World of Books.
What inspired you to write this book?
Paul: As influential and inspirational as Chesterton is, his books are not the easiest to read, especially for young readers. So I had the idea to create a character based on Chesterton in modern America, and introduce him and his views through fiction. Reading his Autobiography, and even his essays in which he describes his own personal experiences, he struck me as a strange cross of Mary Poppins and Amelia Bedelia.
That is an interesting cross! I actually can picture that. What was the hardest part of writing this book?
Paul: Narrowing down the anecdotes, essays, and stories to pick which ones to include in the book. I’ve still got a lot of reading to do on Chesterton as he wrote quite a lot, and every day I find new material.
Do you have other books published at this time or plans to do so in the future?
When you were the age of your main character Jack, can you remember a favorite author?
Paul: Jack London. Not just his adventure stories, but especially his more philosophical works like The Sea Wolf. However, I didn’t agree with his philosophy, I admired how he communicated it through fiction.
Paul went on to share a little bit of non disclosed trivia about the book, Jack is named after C.S. Lewis (it was a nickname of his) and Christie is named after Agatha Christie, who was the fellow member of the Detection Club with Chesterton.
My thoughts: I was excited to have this opportunity to read this book. Told in a story format from Jack’s perspective, I really enjoyed the pace of the book. Reading this book I found it had the rhythm of C.S. Lewis in his Chronicles of Narnia Series. I found this interesting as I was not aware of the real C.S. Lewis connection until I finished writing my review and started communicating with Paul and reading more information on the book.
The book was a quick read and an enjoyable one. There were moments I laughed out loud. I liked that in the back of the book there was a page called “Words To Know”, that gave a definition of words in the book that young readers may struggle with their meaning.
My favorite passage in this books falls on pages 14 and 15 when Uncle Chestnut is explaining to Jack how people do not find where they live extraordinary because they live it every day and do not see from the perspective of an outsider looking in. I quote:
“So people go about their lives, not noticing the giant on their mountain, or the great treasures they have. They see the same things every day, and so think that these things are just plain and ordinary.”
“That is why,” said Uncle Chestnut. “I believe in giants, fairies, and all kinds of things we cannot see. Perhaps we are so tired of looking at the world that we don’t see them anymore.”
Well put Uncle Chestnut. Well put.
To read more about this book and what’s to come please enter here: Uncle Chestnut