The daily musings of a substitute teacher in East Central Illinois.

Summer Reading III: Patriot Games

I recently finished the second book (chronologically) of Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan/John Clark Universe, Patriot Games.

I quite enjoyed this story, even though some of the characters were a little stiff. I could tell that this was an earlier writing endeavour by Mr. Clancy, which probably explains a lot. However, it was a very well-written story, despite its flaws. It was fun and quick to read and, as with most of his stories, it makes the reader ask important questions about right and wrong and how we respond to fuzzy boundaries, as my one-time social and cultural geography instructor liked to call them.

Far too often, we try to paint the world in terms of black and white. But the reality of our world is that we don’t even live in shades of grey; our world is full of vibrant colours that blend and contrast and clash and mix. Sometimes things are very pretty. Other times they are quite ugly. And then there are the things that are either mostly ugly with a secret treasure of beauty in the middle or the exact opposite. This is what I think of when I read Tom Clancy’s books. He is showing that, for all of our desire to determine right and wrong, there is an awful lot of confusing mish-mash that we have to deal with, too.

I think my favourite line from the book is when Jack Ryan’s friend Robby Jackson tells him, “I am the voice of reason in a chaotic world.” That, to me, kind of sums up the whole of what Tom Clancy is trying to help us find.

And yeah, I am probably reading far too much into the author’s purpose. For what it’s worth, I would never expect anyone else to identify the same reason, nor do I think that you even need to know the purpose when you read. One of these days I am going to finish reading this book on balanced literacy that I’ve been working through for several months. In the meantime, I will share this: the book discusses the idea that we tend to read for one of two purposes: for pleasure (aesthetically) or for information (efferently). Maybe it is just me, but I tend to read for both reasons simultaneously. Scratch that. I know it isn’t just me because I am 99% certain I got this habit from my mother. So there are at least two of us.

Anyway, I am looking forward to reading the next book in the series, Red Rabbit. This is one of those that I don’t own, though, so I am waiting for the library to get it. While I wait, I am finally going to read the Jared Diamond book that has been sitting on my nightstand for more months that I care to count.


One response

  1. That line from Robby Jackson sums up my whole life philosophy.

    June 30, 2011 at 11:54 am

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