Mr. Was

( 31 )

Overview

After his dying grandfather tries to strangle him, Jack Lund discovers a door that leads him fifty years into the past and involves him in events that determine his own future.
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Mr. Was

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Overview

After his dying grandfather tries to strangle him, Jack Lund discovers a door that leads him fifty years into the past and involves him in events that determine his own future.
Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Ingenious plotting and startling action combine to make this time-travel thriller a riveting read. Trying to escape from his violent father, Jack and his mother move into his late grandfather's mysterious house in Memory, Minn. There, the 13-year-old discovers a door that can hurtle him 50 years into the past. In the present day, Jack's father is rampaging: he calls the boy's mother a "hardheaded bitch," breaks her fingers and eventually kills her with a baseball bat. Jack escapes through the time-travel door, planning to wait 50 years and prevent the crime. Unbeknownst to him, he is becoming entangled in his own family's ugly history: past and future are irremediably entangled. Jack's strange destiny takes him from the bloody battles of WW II Guadalcanal to a government-run mental institution, where he suffers amnesia and a drug-induced type of catatonia. The only real flaw in this feverish page-turner is the pedestrian heaviness of the dialogue. Hautman, the author of three adult novels, can otherwise be commended: his structure is sophisticated without ever overwhelming the reader, and mined with surprises that explode like fireworks. Ages 12-up. Oct.
Children's Literature - Mary Sue Preissner
Chapters in this perplexing science fiction work are presented as coming from four various notebooks. John Lund, a child of an abusing, alcoholic father and a timid mother, travels far and wide to escape his life. After dreaming of a hidden door in his grandfather's dilapidated home, he locates it and is transported several times to different time periods in both the lives of the strange house and that of his grandfather. Readers will be riveted to both this science fiction adventure and this story of a child coming to terms with reality.
Children's Literature - Tim Whitney
After Jack witnesses his mother's brutal murder by his alcoholic father, he travels through a mysterious door in his grandfather's home and ends up in an earlier time. He decides to grow up there, so that in 55 years he can prevent his mother's death, but a jealous friend and World War II stand in his way. The story is told very effectively by a series of four notebooks found in 1952 by Jack's father. Suspense and mystery will keep the reader glued to this book until the end, when all of the pieces of the puzzle eventually come together. Fans of science fiction and the theme of time travel will love this book.
School Library Journal
Gr 7-10In this convoluted time-travel story from an adult novelist, a teenager walks through a more or less 50-year "door" in an old house, and falls in love with his own grandmother. After his alcoholic father murders his mother and then goes out in the yard to hang himself, Jack Lund travels back to 1941, where he befriends Scud, an enterprising young hustler, and his fiancee, Andie. Jack and Andie warm to each other. By the time Scud finds out, he and Jack are in the Marines on Guadalcanal; after a savage fight Scud leaves Jack for dead, goes off to marry Andie, has a daughter Jack's mother, and makes a fortune with the help of a 1996 stock-market page young Jack has by chance brought with him. Alive but disfigured and totally amnesiac, Jack a.k.a. Mr. Was spends the next 50 years as a mental patient, beginning to recover only after some illicit acupuncture. He escapes, and travels to his old housenot in time to save his mother, but in time to help his father along with his suicide. Enter Pinky Boggs, apparently a time cop of some sort, who haphazardly destroys evidence of the door's existence and tells Jack that a much older Andie is waiting for him in 1946. Jack goes through the door one last timeand there she is. Hautman devotes less effort to explanations or tying up loose ends than to detailed descriptions of violence, stretching out his account of Jack's parents' deteriorating relationship and throwing in bloody visions when the action lags. Jack is more a vehicle the story is framed as a series of journals and letters than a character, showing wear but little growth or change. For a lighter, more logically consistent time-loop story, steer readers to Robert Heinlein's oldie-but-still-goodie, The Door into Summer Del Rey, 1986.John Peters, New York Public Library
Kirkus Reviews
Hautman (for adults, The Mortal Nuts, p. 622, etc.) combines the elements of mystery, science fiction, and domestic violence in his compelling and unrelentingly grim first novel for teenagers.

When his grandfather Skoro dies, teenage Jack Lund and his mother journey to the old man's mansion in the aptly named town of Memory. Jack discovers a hidden doorway that transports him back fifty years, and he travels back and forth in time easily. Following the murder of his mother at the hands of his alcoholic father, Jack flees permanently into the past, vowing to live through the years leading up to his mother's death and prevent it. But life in the less-technological past proves just as complicated as the present: Jack falls in love with Andie, but rather than form the third corner of a romantic triangle, he enlists in and barely survives WW II. Jack eventually recovers and remembers his quest. Confronting life's tragedies and integrating them is one of the novel's themes, and so Jack's destiny remains regretfully unalterable. He finds some manner of happiness through a complicated leap of temporal mechanics, but it may not hearten younger readers when weighed against the unsentimental portrayal of an alcoholic household and the bloody murder. More sophisticated readers, however, will find the realism refreshing and enjoy solving the conundrum of Jack's life.

From the Publisher
* “Ingenious plotting and startling action combine to make this time-travel thriller a riveting read.”—Publishers Weekly, starred review

“Hard to put down.”—Booklist

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780689819148
  • Publisher: Simon Pulse
  • Publication date: 3/1/1998
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 256
  • Sales rank: 1,382,478
  • Age range: 12 - 17 Years
  • Product dimensions: 4.20 (w) x 7.00 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Pete Hautman is the author of Godless, which won the National Book Award, and many other critically acclaimed books for teens and adults, including Blank Confession, All-In, Rash, No Limit, Invisible, and Mr. Was, which was nominated for an Edgar Award by the Mystery Writers of America. Pete lives in Minnesota and Wisconsin. Visit him at PeteHautman.com.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 31 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(21)

4 Star

(6)

3 Star

(3)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(1)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 31 Customer Reviews
  • Posted June 24, 2011

    Loveed it then, love it still...

    I love this book, and it has been a favorite of mine since I was a young teen. I am now twenty two and have read it countless times, and reccomend this book to anyone looking for an odd yet gripping tale that is, well..........unforgettable.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 24, 2004

    The most realistic sci-fi thriller of all time.

    This novel combines the powers of hate, love, science, and mystery into an enigmatic time-travel thriller that is too real to not believe. The forces of destiny and the stregnth of devotion collide to form the most awesome literature compostion known to man.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 7, 2014

    Mr. Was

    Mr. Was is one of the greatest books ive ever read. And its hard to please a 11 year old. So in your mind you should be thinking that you should be reading this book right now.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 2, 2013

    Pete hautman is my favorite author anything he writes is good this book mr. Was is one of th best books ive ever read i highly reccomend it

    Sorry forhot to type down here look up

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 19, 2013

    What is this book about????????

    What is this book about?????????

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 25, 2011

    I agree but........

    I agree with all of the coments but the reason i love this book is because of the adventure it takes me on and....... well just everything about it !!!!!

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  • Posted June 29, 2011

    Fantastic begining to end

    The idea behind book was as clever as the book was enetertaining the narrative could be a bit strange switching from first person to a style symilar to a journal, but overall i would reccomend this book to anyone ad everyone. Great read

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 26, 2008

    Amazing

    I love this book! Its so twisty but yet it all makes sense. I have read it almost 5 times! This is my Favorite book of all time. Pete Hautman is an amazing writer.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 4, 2005

    Captivating and compelling novel, ideal for teens who love a good mystery

    The book is a captivating and thrilling read, perfect for anyone who enjoys twists and turns in a good mystery! This book kept me on the edge of my seat! It it a must read that can't be put down!

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 16, 2005

    Interestingly excellent

    This book blew me away. All the classic books I can think of have owed their quality largely to a story that is described so effectively and intriguingly that it feels like you're reading not a description of a story, or a place, or a person, but an emotion; they make you feel the place and the mood in your heart. (Good examples: To Kill a Mockingbird and The Lord of the Flies). It's interesting, because both of the books I mentioned were the first by their respective authors (I think, don't quote me on that :) ). These authors had a story in their heart, and told it as such, probably after sifting it through the backs of their minds for quite a long time. I have a good feeling that this book is another example of the same; that this story has been long in the making before finally being told. I felt a lot of this in this book; I could really imagine the places, and most amazingly, the mood, of the story, and felt it. It's an amazing thing to experience, and somehow, this book had it too. The rest of the story was imperfect, and plot holes were abound, but the story was crafted in such a way that I really couldn't care less. For some reason, what easily could have been just another gimmicky story for a formulaic teenaged drama book turned out to be one of the most amazing books i've read in years. The reason why, I think, is because it had the feel of a classic.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 6, 2004

    best book i've ever read!

    totally amazaing thriller, couldnt sleep at night when i read this book, i could not put it down. confusing but awsome. great until the last page!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 8, 2002

    Great Book

    This book reminded me a lot of Robert Cormier's books. I remember I read it when I was younger, and forgot the title. And for about 3 years I kept wondering what the title was! I finally found it and read it again. The character's, setting, and plot, were excellent! It all fit into what type of books I enjoy reading. It's haunting in a way, and I think people look for books that stay in their mind, and make them think about 20 different things. This book was about the first book I actually read that was stranger, and completely different from all the other books I read. I suggestion you carefully read it, and pay attention!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 25, 2001

    Mr Was-EXCELLENT

    This realistic thriller is outstandingly <if that is a word> great!!! I can't wait for hautman's next book. This is the best book I have read so far

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 31, 2001

    Mr. Was

    This book was AWESOME!!!! the second i picked it up i couldn't put it down. i read it in about 7 hours, and I thought it had the coolest storyline.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 12, 2000

    A twisted, thriller and fantasy book all rolled into one!!!!!

    Pete Hautman is a genious and mastermind!!! His writing is so precise and articulite, you have no trouble reading it at all!!!! This story has all the possible traits you could put in a story-HUMOR,ROMANCE,HORROR,SUSPENCE,and SCIENCE FICTION!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 24, 2000

    'A page-turning book you cant put down!'

    Pete Hauntman did a great job explaning what was going on even though it was hard to understand until you read the whole thing. A great book and i recommend it to anyone looking for adventure and non stop suspense!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 5, 2000

    Great Read

    Mr. Was is a great book! clever and realistic, i highly recommend you read this. a young adults classic.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 17, 2000

    a reviewer

    it is the best book i have ever read vividly described it takes a strong mind to fully understand the complete out look of it all the best parts were when jack was writing in his notebook during the war. very emotional and shocking to the heart and mind!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 9, 2000

    Mr. Was, was great

    This book is a weird, freaky and twisted story but over all i thought of it to be a very interesting book about the present and past. Pete H., uses very complete discriptions, and tells the story in a precice manner. Mr. Was, was a very good book!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 16, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 31 Customer Reviews

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