A freak explosion of road-blasting dynamite in Kennedy-era
Vermont has tragic consequences. Among them, young Gavin
Weaver receives a head injury. He was a sporty kid,
popular with girls, but now his life will take a different
path. PRODIGIOUS SAVANT looks at Gavin's life after he
wakes from a coma, wanting to read, count obsessively, play
chess and learn piano playing.
As if adapting to his new life isn't stressful enough,
Gavin finds that his domineering, sports-loving father is
furious because Gavin wants to play piano instead of
basketball. The pretty girl Gavin liked is no longer
interested in him. Smart Sharon takes over from her,
bringing him chess books. Sharon is the only bright spot in
after a neurosurgeon diagnoses Gavin with a temporal lobe
resulting in savantism, or a gift of genius in fields like
Gavin finds it harder to control his stress
outbursts, and secretly takes out his inner rage on
anything weak and as time goes on, Gavin becomes even more
dissociated and his
control shatters. To add considerable tension to the tale,
is out to kill Gavin which adds
considerable tension to the tale.
From early on we cheer for Gavin as he
explores his new giftedness, but the darkness which overtakes
character is tragic and turns him into an antihero fast. The
author JJ White
has done a
good job of making the characters come across as solid and
real, like the wooded, mountainous location of Vermont. There
well-described locations, including
inside Khrushchev's Soviet Union during a chess tournament. I
appearance of Bobby Fischer, the youthful
chess Grand Master of the day.
JJ White, an
engineer, has written many short stories and articles,
including a Sherlock Holmes tale. We shouldn't be surprised
that he uses all the tools at his disposal to create a powerful
during the Cuban Missile Crisis. PRODIGIOUS
SAVANT will keep you reading.
According to Dr. Darold A. Treffert of the University of
Wisconsin, there are fewer than one hundred reported cases
of prodigious savants in the world. Those few who possess
the savant syndrome all have an island of brilliance that
allows them to excel in some remarkable talent.
Unfortunately, they all share various developmental
In Burlington, Vermont, 1962, seventeen-year-old Gavin
Weaver survives a dreadful explosion, six hours of brain
surgery, and thirty days in a coma, to awake possessing not
just one savant talent, but several, including art, music,
mathematics, and memory-and all without suffering any of the
usual mental disabilities associated with head trauma.
The odds are slim that Gavin will survive both the internal
and external conflicts, which keep him from the one thing he
wants most, the girl he's loved since childhood.