Clod Makes A Friend: David J. Pedersen
Life sometimes discourages you from being the best you can be when others belittle you or try to make you feel unworthy. Within the pages of this novel you will meet Clod, a young man who grows into a responsible adult but not before going through many stages of life, learning different life lessons and realizing that friendship, loyalty and understanding far outweigh outer appearance. “Believe in yourself and your own beauty.” As you read this story you will understand the meaning of these words.
Teachers are supposed to teach and mentor students except for Learned Yugen. Judging others by their lack of magic, clumsy appearance and backward learning skills, he constantly berates, insults and belittles Clod until he feels like crawling under a rock and hiding. This is an unusual story about a young boy whose talents are hidden within him until a miracle happens and he realizes just how powerful and special he really is.
Clod is an easy target from the time he was 9 at the start of the story. Bullies love to torment him and even though he is bigger, clumsier and thought to be uglier than his peers, he’s also got one more drawback. He’s the only student in the school without magic. But, sometimes magic happens with the creativity of your hands at creating something or in this case someone that means more to you than material wealth. Living in a hovel most would say in a poor area and broken down cottage, Clay has only one thing to keep him busy: clay. Within this clay he creates his own form of magic in the shape of a young girl calling herself Ada.
Clod means a lump or mass, especially of earth or clay. Clod creates his own creations from clay but some consider the name to be identified with a stupid person or blockhead.
He is often considered of lesser dignity, value insignificant. Even his mother does not always praise his attributes and when confronted with his teacher or others seems timid and unable to defend him. Violence is out of the question but when the story progresses you realize that sometimes taking matters into your own hands is the only answer. Learned Yugen should have chosen another profession says this educator as he declares to Clod’s mother that his life should be prepared for menial labor.
Clod has his own special magic, which he can create with his hands. Yugen cannot realize it and then Clod instead of receiving any encouragement is treated like nothing, worthless or evil. Clay is his answer to relaxing and he creates Ada a tiny little girl that he creates out of clay and brings to life with the clay his mother brings home from work. Ada is loyal, true and appreciates Clod as a person and often spends time with him except when circumstances change and she winds up as a heap of ash again sacrificing herself for someone else. She last turns into ash and then each time he attempts and tries to create a stronger and bigger Ada so that she will last longer.
Yugen seems immune to any critiques and is constantly promoted to higher positions and states that Clod brings Dark Magic into the world and he’s aiming to destroy him.
Getting to know Clod through the years from 9 to teenage you meet Haim the baker who understands why he and Ada stole some cakes. Rather than punish him he enlists him, as a worker teaching him how to sculpt cakes, which it turns out, is a benefit to both of them. But, Learned Yugen every step of the way demeans him and wants him destroyed but Clod has Ada and his mother and eventually you route for him and hopes his true spirit shines through.
There is Shaman Millow who has faith in Clod and he explains to him how he made Ada out of clay. It sounds like a homunculus to Cleric Dyes. But, Wizard Pyle claims that homunculi don’t give themselves names. Ada is an amazing friend to Clod and she centers him and keeps him straight hoping that he will understand how special he is to her. But, Principal Yugen claims that they always causing trouble or mischief. At 19 things change for Cloud and the solid figure of Shaman Millow appears. MIllow was broad of shoulder and had piercing blue eyes and Clod respected her. He learns the amenities from her and Ada is afraid of her. Yugen kicked Clod out of school the year before said his mother Eidy. Claims Ada is made from evil. Clod has poor self-image and self-worth. He feels unwanted at times even though he has his mother but the truth about his father when it comes out will alter his life, his perception and change the dynamics of his already small family. Clod has his own special magic and at the end it just might come shining through when the city where he lives is in danger and he must decide if he can become a hero.
His father’s name was also Clod, and he was a well-known sculptor whose work was featured all over the city where he lived as his mother takes him around to show him what his father did and then presents him with the same tools in order for him to continue on as his father did as a sculptor.
Each time someone is in trouble and needs to be brought back to life Clod gives up his one friend, Ada and sacrifices her so that someone else can survive. Ada is a vital part of his life but when the truth comes out about his father and his mother explains why he is not there, something happens that will change Clod’s life but first he has to face off with his fears and Reid the bully who tortured him in school and Learned, Principal, Mayor Yugan who will never believe what happens when Clod takes hold of him and deals him the cards he so readily deserved.
The ending will surprise readers as another sacrifice is made as Clod decides on what he feels is the best ending. Love has a way of creating something special and Ada and Clod create for young adults, adults and anyone that wants to understand the true meaning of friendship, kindness, sacrifice, love and tolerance what the world should embrace today. It might be fantasy that the author created but wouldn’t it nice if it was more than fiction but fact?
Fran Lewis: Just reviews/MJ magazine