The building he leaned against was keeping his weakened malnourished body from falling in a heap onto the sidewalk. Two years on the streets of Paris and another traumatic night was added to a long list of bad nights. His friend, Fabron, had betrayed him and threatened death if he didn’t leave by morning. As the others carried on with their night, he stood as the anonymous figure in the distance. He wasn’t alone though; fear stood with him, a familiar friend.
The sound of her voice propelled him into action, and a sudden adrenalin boost gave him the strength to pounce; like a super hero jumping from the pages of a comic book and coming to the rescue of the damsel in distress, his act of fearless defiance managed to free Savannah from the clutches of her attacker, Fabron, the same bully who assaulted him a few hours earlier.
Jose Miguel is his name but on the streets they call him Joey. He’s young, nearly twenty, but you’d never know it to hear him talk about his life so far. Savannah listened in disbelief to his story, layer upon layer of contradictions; well-to-do to homelessness, coddled to rejected, handsome to emaciated, loved to hated. How did this happen?
Joey – meet opportunity. He’s been knocked to his knees with no more tears left to shed – he finally surrendered. Loosening his jaw and dropping his shoulders he stepped back from the edge of despair. For the first time in a long while he felt his heartbeat and that’s when he knew – Savannah was truly a trusted friend.
The Ultimate Experience captures the short life of Joey during his sometimes tumultuous, yet thoughtful quest for transformation. He is the student and the audience surrogate, asking all the right questions of his teacher and presenting the reader with ‘show and tell’ examples of the practical side of learning through real life scenarios. Like learning the steps of a new dance, he stumbles through the dips and twirls early on – only to find his ‘Fred Astaire’ moves along the way.
The storytelling is good and the one-plus-one process he learns from start to finish really does add up to two when the final words are written. The daily lessons offer depth and texture to his adventure, and because they are woven intricately into the story, they do not need to be explicitly explained – making the subject matter more satisfying than being lectured to.
Joey’s life is changed forever through innovative teaching strategies designed by Savannah, the teacher, and coordinated as one big field trip known as ‘the adventure’. When he appears to us in the first chapters he just wants to escape the horror of his circumstances never dreaming he would experience a metamorphosis like he did. His evolution will affect you more deeply than you could ever have imagined, forcing you to look at your own life with new eyes. The Ultimate Experience takes Joey on a roller coaster ride that you won’t want to get off until it rolls to a satisfying end.
I dare say, you will be forced out of your reading comfort zone, stretching your mind beyond its imagined capacity, but don’t reject it because of that, believe me, it is worth challenging yourself.