Book Review: Eddie: The Lost Youth of Edgar Allan Poe
Publication Date: August 7, 2012
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
· Scott Gustafson
by R.J. Carter
Published: April 20, 2012
Scott Gustafson has developed an intriguing historical fantasy for young readers with Eddie: The Lost Youth of Edgar Allan Poe. After introducing us to how young Edgar came to be adopted by John and Frances Allan, a recorded fact, Gustafson begins adding in the unrecorded details -- the talking raven named Raven, and the imp McCobber, the only thing Edgar's drunken father, David, left to him as an infant. Invisible to everyone save for Eddie and Raven, McCobber is an irascible sort of friend, who suggests nightmarish things to Eddie in his sleep, inspiring him to attempt writing some of them down.
This particular adventure finds Eddie in quite the dire straits, having awakened from a sleepwalking escapade in his next door neighbor's chicken yard, said neighbor's prized rooster and the family cat wrapped up tight in Eddie's pillowcase -- and dangling from a steeple impossible for a child of Eddie's size to reach.
It doesn't help that the neighbor is a judge.
Realizing that Edgar couldn't have done the deed, John Allan nevertheless feels compelled to punish the boy, giving him 24 hours to prepare his defense and find out what really happened to that prized rooster. Thus, young Eddie sets out on his first detective adventure, leading him back to the theater where his parents made their living and the acquaintance of a magician billing himself as captain Mephisto. But is Mephisto's secret the same as Edgar's -- that he has a demon doing his bidding? And if this supernatural entity is responsible for the problem in Eddie's life, how can he present it as believable proof to John Allan and save himself from a beating?
Blending a fun, readable writing style with gorgeous pencil illustrations and focusing on one of the most mysterious, enigmatic people in American history, Eddie: The Lost Youth of Edgar Allan Poe simply must be the first in a series.