History Major: Michael Phillip Cash
Dreams can bring back repressed memories that we often associate with situations we would rather not remember. Imagine your world, as you know changed into something you will never forget or hope to never experience again. What would happen if you went to a party and got polluted had a fight with your boyfriend who dislikes your friends because of their mean ways and attitude and the next thing you know if waking up with a huge hangover. As you open your eyes and readjust to your surroundings you realize that something is off including the young girl present in your room who is not your roommate or you think is not your roommate. Arrangements are not the same and you are woken up and reminded that class is about to begin but as you learn more about your class, what you are told you have to take the world and your life as you know it will take you to places in the past, in the present and maybe the future as you enter a realm, time period and become immersed in events that just might help you find who and what you really are.
Looking around the room she saw several familiar things and remembered the fight she had with her boyfriend, Patrick understanding that they broke up yet yearning to hear from him again. Replaying the events in her mind only brought her more uncertain realities and the vivid pictures of her surrounding described chilling.
Enter the world of Amanda Greene when she parties, fights and finds herself having to deal with not only a class that she did not register for, a professor that is dressed like Aristotle and who has major points and lessons to drive home that he hopes she learns but much more. Her dorm room is oddly different and as I said the girl in her room a stranger. Finding herself in a history class that she never wanted to take and told she cannot do anything about it she finds herself drawn to the auditorium that would soon become her prison. Within this short period of time she senses a shadow following her and the end result as she enters the classroom will take her back in time and experiencing the lives of many from the past, flashing to the present and connecting it in the future.
Entering the auditorium where this class is supposed to take place Amanda senses a disconnect with all of the students except one. For some reason they all sit there quietly never expecting what they are about to endure, experience of even learn. Imagine Aristotle entering the room, putting down the students and singling out Nick Fortune who appears to be Amanda’s savior, constant and protector. But, in reality just who is he, how is he connected to the past and what does the professor mean that everything is based on Association. Your dreams and nightmares often reflect you feelings, past experiences and in Amanda’s case Guilt fills her mind when she embarks on a conversation with Nick hoping that Patrick does not see her but he does not surface right now.
Sitting there she grabs her chest, feels a presence in the room like a dark shadow of death or fear and then suddenly it disappears almost locking everyone in place, as the other students are silent and waiting for what they don’t know as yet. As she wants to escape the room a fist slams down and all that she hears is THEY ARE VERY STRICT HERE! But, where is here?
Enter Aristotle the professor and the lesson begins with the definition of association and told to turn to a page in the center of the her text thinking this is too far in and not realizing that this is not the first class and maybe something else is really off. As the professor continues he talks about: The professor as Nick states: is trying to point out is that the chain of thought results in a systematic group of memories that create the laws of association.
Jeanne D’Arc was called the Maid Of Orleans and the next chapter takes us all back in time to meet Jeanne, her family and understanding why she was chosen for her mission and her relationship with her family. As her own realm of consciousness overtakes her and she meets Archangel Michael and two others she learns that she has been chosen to win a war, rule and army and lead it for the King. With no choice she agrees and we all know that she was burned at the stake as a traitor. Returning to the present an ominous shadow follows her, no one moves in the class and Amanda is transfixed and afraid of what is about to happen next as we once again hear the voice of Jeanne D’Arc and experience her fate along with Amanda.
Now her mind flashes to her past and living with her mother, her new husband her son Wayne who violates her but no one is listening. Author Michael Phillip Cash has created a world for Amanda that she begins to wonder where she is, whether she is alive or dead and what lessons should she learn as she remembers the torture living at home and then freed. Her friend Danielle taking her in and remembering the fight with Patrick over her friendship with her and some other girls. Loyalties were set, boundaries broken and Amanda just might be experiencing her own Twilight Zone episode where she is the main character.
The taunts she remembers from Wayne and the abuse from her stepfather come flooding through as the author takes her back in time to her childhood. Chapter 8 is quite revealing as the author relates through Amanda just why being home was not great, missing her grandmother and the fact that going to live with her was her ideal place and the guilt she still bears about her death. After dealing again with the chagrin of the professor and not realizing somehow the link he has with Nick, the author and the professor introduce us to Rodrigo Borgia, his two sons vying for the position of favorite son and running his army as well as his daughter Lucrezia who is used as a pawn to help him get what he wants and making sure that his daughter yields to his every request knowing full well she would rather not live with him.
Chapters 11 and 12 allow her some freedom as they are given one hour to leave the auditorium where she and Nick embark on a different type of journey leading her to decide whether to return to class or run away. Going back in time once again to 1495 and the in fighting between Juan and Cesare Borgia, their understanding of the problems as hand and why their father, the Pope has a goal for each of them. One wanting to switch with his brother wanted to wear the robes to run the army and the other the father wanting to be Pope. But, the real catalyst in his diabolical plan is his daughter and a ruby stone. Just how does she react when he relates what she must do? Living with a husband she hated she decides to give in to her father.
The author then goes back to have readers understand the reasons why Amanda and Patrick fought and his feelings towards her friends. Going back further to WWII and Hitler you will be surprised about Amanda’s journey and what happens within the walls of this room and the truth behind what really happens to her friends and who is responsible.
The ending is quite powerful and will cause Amanda to connect with others from history as all of her encounters come pouring through. Not knowing where she really is and if she is alive or dead as the professor begins his lecture to it seems only to her exampling how we “Encounter stimuli all day, and that leaves lasting impressions in our consciousness.”
The rest of the lecture you need to read for yourself as the author allows Amanda one final journey and one final understanding of the meaning of History and it is about people and their reactions to challenges in life. Does she finally understand what has really happened to her? Does she understand the challenges she faced and will face in the future or will Amanda learn who she is as a person? Will she realize that life is a lesson? Will she realize what really happened to her friends and will the shadow that has placed itself over her leave? When she opens her eyes and wakes up just where will she be? Reality or Fantasy? Which realm will she choose? I wonder what will happen the next time Amanda chooses a class. History lessons some are harder than others to learn
Fran Lewis: Just reviews/MJ Magazine