Reckless Runaway (Tweener Press Adventure Series)
Michael Ellis is a young man who lives in the city of Independence in the “Show Me” state, Missouri. Lately however, Mike acts as if he lives in the “Make Me” state. Michael dislikes that his parents are always telling him what to do and punishing him all the time when he disobeys. Even Mrs. Whitlock, Mike’s teacher, thinks he needs to be more disciplined and accountable for his assignments. Summer school is imminent if something doesn’t change.
Mike decides to teach everyone a lesson by running off with his best friend Barney, the scruffiest, little, mixed-breed mutt alive. Barney is believed to be a cross between an alley dog and a junkyard dog, and he often misbehaves, so perhaps this is why the boy and his dog get along so fittingly.
The plan of running away gets a bit more complicated than planned when Mike and Barney hide in a railroad boxcar, fall asleep, and end up in Georgia with a circus in the middle of the night. Luckily for the runaways, Big Bob the Clown takes Mike and Barney to safety in his wagon. Mike decides that living and performing with the circus might be a good idea until Big Bob opens Mike’s eyes to his unfortunate past. Bob tells Mike that a clown paints on a happy face to sometimes cover sadness. A clown may not always be as carefree as he appears, but the show must go on. It is Big Bob’s belief that GOD brought Mike to him so he could explain what happened to him as a young boy. Big Bob had to depend on an old clown named Arnold to rescue him, but Mike has loving Christian parents to guide him.
“Reckless Runaway” is a meaningful story about doing what one is told to do. Parents often punish their children, but only because they love and want what is best for them, not because they don’t care. Even though the life of a circus performer with a circus family may appear fun, if given a choice, most would agree that living within the confines of a warm home with loving, caring parents is the preferred choice. As the saying goes, “You don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone.” After Mike overhears some unsettling news and both he and Barney are involved in a scary and dangerous crime, Mike learns his lesson before it’s too late.
I enjoyed this moving piece by Max Elliot Anderson and can highly recommend it. Although written for the younger reader (age 10-12), everyone should enjoy it. The very special relationships of a boy and his dog, and then an old clown and a young boy, make this a tenderhearted tale.