The Lushland Evolution: Pat McNamara
Life requires that we handle many changes. Some of these changes are out of our control and not made by choice others are caused as a result of others. One young boy learns the meaning of death, sadness, life, the love of nature and the changes within our environment as presented in a novel by Pat McNamara titled The Lushland Evolution. Can we share the earth, its treasures and resources with the animals, trees, vegetation and people in a respectful way? Lushland is a beautiful island whose green grass, amazing vegetation and lakes are filled with greenery, fish and whose residents often hunt for their meals. Some get rabbits while others venison and pigeon. Either way it is a result of man’s desire to survive and a place whose richness is about to fade. Finn is a young 12 year old who lives with his parents and enjoys the outdoors, fishing, boating and feels his life would be great if he could enjoy angling and catching his prey. But, not everything goes as planned and his parents are killed in a car accident leaving him basically on his own. Going to live with his mother’s best friend made him uncomfortable as her home was you might say to austere for this young boy. Living with her father in his cabin was his choice. More rustic, not so neat and living off the land for food made him more amenable to dealing with life and the loss of his parents. Finn Collins is our main character that introduces readers to Lushland, explains the scenery in detail and allows us to visit where he lives and shows us the beauty of his surroundings. Realizing that adults or even teens do not respect what nature has provided sets this young man on a journey for not only find himself, embrace his passions and teach readers the true meaning of the word evolution or change. But, there is much more as he relates the obstacles he encounters and we find that he has a passion for nature and the “natural world.” Mr. Collins has his own lifestyle and he and Finn seem to blend just fine. But, not everything stays the same and many of his older friends have passed on to the next life causing Mr. Collins to reflect on his own. But, Mr. Collins was not a young man and when his daughter, Maggie came around tragedy strikes when he winds up in the hospital leaving Finn to fend for himself as he passed on and his life would change once more. Remembering his time with his friends, the overnight camping strips and knowledge that he would have to get a job and take responsibility for himself was not easy for this 17 year old. Feeling education was a waste of time and fishing and other hobbies more important was really disturbing when brought to light. So, out of school and now he had to apply at the Lushland Employment Office for a job. His grades okay but not amazing still yielded him three offers. Although he was not thrilled with his choices the options opened were the only ones and since having to care for himself, pay rent and other bills he had no choice. The author goes into a long explanation through Finn’s eyes as to why he dislikes cars, deaths by cars, pollution and much more. Added in the changes in the scenery, why people would not be able to enjoy beaches or the waves and just the outdoors in general. The close of Part One finds Finn tired after a day’s work and his feelings about his life while reflecting back to his past living with his parents and Mr. Collins. Deaths are not just
He’d always been suspicious of adult behavior, and had long concluded that society was rife with illogical notions and delusions, but if was ever going to truly understand what it was to be an adult, then he was going to have to become one of them. Into a one-bedroom city apartment he moves and his lifestyle changes drastically. He becomes very disheartened, and after bust-up in work and his river being polluted, he is deeply pondering whether he wants to continue living in this terrible reality. Death part of his life again as his best friend takes his own life as the author and Finn explain why this young man would be so depressed as to take his own life. Finn did not handle this news very well and became angry and discontent which would spill over to his job. Answering back his boss was not wise and deciding to go fishing instead of working the weekend might yield getting fired. As you hear the voice of his boss yelling and telling him what he would not be able to do the end result was an immature act by Finn. What happens lets readers know that this young boy should never have been allowed to be on his own, his distrust for education and his love of living off the land and not learning from books. How sad!
Observing adults, kids and others created his field on knowledge. Thinking that everyone was the same you might wonder if his parents had lived if he would have embraced and understood life differently. The final chapter of Part One closes with his analysis of medicine and its uses, trying to understand reproduction from observing waterfowl with their young and finally his assessment of boys and girls.
The author changes gears as she takes us back 10,000 years and we meet Finn changed into a heron learning life through a different perspective and encountering some of the same things he did as a human. The author once again describes the scenery, his realization of where he is and the fact that he is not human. The place is the same one he grew up in and he is flying over to the Erin River and sees no buildings, no traffic and smells no toxic fumes. What is interesting is that some of the creatures that lived in this place are also filled with the same fears and trepidations as Finn the heron. He discovers many things about this place and realizes that people are about to inhabit this place and he makes friends with some creatures relating his feelings. Hearing the voices of the creatures and others you being to wonder how they will all survive. Fights, arguments ensued just like with humans as Finn Of Heron Island needs to find his place and tries to explain that in his reality which this is not, he was a find young man and he told them more. Each of the creatures, the Falcon, the birds and others had their own way of telling their dream, as we think that this is what is happening to Finn. Within Part 2 you will learn what happens when man arrives, how things change for the animals and other creatures and the feelings that if they could express them might help people understand why things need to change. Will their land suffer? What about the water supply? What about the trees? Understanding that man will divide up the land, use metal machines to change the landscape and the end result will read part 2 and find out. Years passed and all seemed find and then the Snake Arrives. What happens when Finn the Heron visits the humans? What happens when he sees life through another pair of eyes? What is Finn’s Fate?
Part Three recounts his life from part one but with many changes as a young child wakes up and has no memory of this event . Reawakening in the 80’s and living with different parents who are wealthy this time. His parents are alive and do not die and his sister is the one killed in the car accident. He decides as he did in Part One to live with his grandfather this time by the river. But, Finn does not take up fishing and boating in this part he decides to take up running and wins many championships. Accidents are caused you are right about that and his life took a downward turn after his sister dies. But, Finn, for some reason never takes blame for his actions, blames his fate on others and although winning gold metals, and enjoying life before, he becomes hardened against the many conveniences he has as a result of losing his sister. So, when a heron appears at his window and his parents fail to see that he needs some attention he focuses on this bird and its flight. Living with Grandpa Collins they both have the same values and ideals. His grandfather does enlighten him about his mother and how she was different and had a passion to play the guitar as a child. But, the story offers details, events and very little dialogue making is difficult to really get to know the characters. The descriptions of the events and the scenery are quite long and the reader would love to get to hear Finn, know his voice and understand his true feelings by having him interact more with the characters in the book. But, the ending is quite interesting as Finn wins many medals and gets to speak in front of someone that he hopes will change things for everyone. Really having no use for people, giving up his life with his family seems quite extreme. The events that took place in Part One are changed in Part Three as you will learn but the perspective is the same. The world has too many laws he feels, restrictions and he explains his feelings about laws, life and the people of Lushland. His speech over the top his intentions admirable to a point and the end result you decide if you agree with Finn and you decide how an audience today would really accept what he did and what he is saying. In which world does he wind up? What is the offer he makes to humanity and the President before deciding his own fate?
Lushland: would you want to visit there and what changes would you want to make?
Fran Lewis: Reviewer