Sunday 24 October 2010

The Wings of Leo Spencer

The Wings of Leo Spencer by Jerome Parisse (Sid Harta)
PB RRP $24.99
ISBN 1-921642-14-9
Reviewed by Anke Seib

Fourteen year old Leo, diagnosed with a fatal illness at age twelve, has lived a relatively normal existence, surfing with his best friend Peter and longing to travel the world so he can photograph birds and share his work with others. His parents never told him the truth about his illness and he first hears it mentioned when, having just passed away, his dad phones his grandmother to say that what was expected has happened.

When Leo enters heaven, the Council of Angels assesses and declares him ‘apt’ for the role of guardian angel as he has lived his past four lives in a worthy manner, meeting previous life contracts successfully. In his last life he ‘was a good son, gentle brother, faithful friend, who suffered illness without complaining.’ He is to be guardian to Peter, allowing him to return to Earth, which turns out to be a lucky thing because his family needs him.

Heaven is a place where one can have everything and anything they desire. Leo’s great desire to photograph birds is now possible but does not satisfy as it is of his own mind’s making. He makes friends quickly and easily though not with everyone. The Father of All Lies has worked with an insider to amend life contracts so that Leo’s family will die in a house fire. Leo’s attempts to resolve the situation will allow the Father of All Lies illegal entry to heaven.

Angels on Earth cannot physically touch humans but harnessing his love for his friend allows Leo to fight two men attempting to attack Peter. Helping his family does not prove that easy though. When Leo’s family is surrounded by fire Leo manages to contact Peter, urging him to call the fire brigade. As the family climbs down to safety, their house collapses around them and all seems saved.

Not so, for the Father of All Lies is really angry now, and he and Leo come face to face in battle. It is when Peter and another of Leo’s friends from heaven come to help him that the three can fight strongly enough for good to conquer evil. Although he has broken some rules the Council of Angels forgives Leo as he did it for the right reasons. He happily returns to heaven to photograph birds.

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