||Barrio City Press
||March, 2 2008
A rites of passage to rival any ever written. A young artist paints a different picture than the world laid forth by his father--only to later dream of impossible sandcastle dreams...
A mesmerizing novel you always seek yet seldom find...Marlo Clemente is a young remarkable artist—a prodigy you can say. At age six, he can sketch freehand portraits and landscape settings. His father’s boisterous views of women, however, haunt him, as he is told that all women are evil—wanting only the material and causing all men “the worst of pains.” This has dire consequences for young Marlo as he struggles with loving his mother and yet facing his father’s twisted representation of a world full of vixen dominance.
Marlo looks to his extraordinary artistic talent and his two best friends for solace from everyday home life. But one of his friends (Danny) becomes romantically involved with a young girl who ends up crushing Danny’s heart. This only reinforces what his father has long since warned. Confusion sets in further when Marlo meets Desiree Castillo, a girl unlike others. For she too sees the same magic in Marlo’s “sandcastle dreams” and even tells a story of the first sandcastle which (legend has it) was built long ago near the Yucatan Peninsula.
Marlo struggles to keep his dream of art school alive while still trying to find the long lost relationship that has evaded him and his mother. He too comes to terms with his deep attraction towards Desiree only to eventually meet her “twin” cousin, Divina. A two sided world Marlo encounters only to wonder whether his tideless dreams will ever come to pass.
From Chapter 18
She was not among the infinite faces I saw. The party had doubled in size in the time of my journey. Stuffy air steamed of heat and perspiration even in the confines of the capacious foyer. The living room too was jam packed, almost impossible to squeeze through the dancing crowd whose hands waved up and down freely to the sound of booming music. Some of the more conservative guys had removed their ties and had them strapped around their heads. The less conservative gents had ripped off their shirts as they danced and paraded like half-naked madmen. Wildly, everyone shoved and heaved into one another as they slam danced, making the entire room as rowdy as could be. Several times I was pushed into the dance area. A girl I did not know grabbed me by the arm. She appeared dazed and said nothing as she pushed up against me, inviting me to join her provocative dance. Her smile never wavered, and her eyes told me she couldn’t care less whether or not she knew my name. Quickly I pulled away and shoved my way towards the back, where finally a set of sliding glass doors led me out to the yard.
The pool shot reflections of moonlight glimmer; my body welcomed and sipped in the vibrant tropical breezes. I followed the meandering concrete path leading up to the gazebo. That’s where I spotted Ivan and Danny. Both sat on adjacent railings, joining others I now recognized from Beach High.
A must read!
This is a delightfully refreshing novel that was enjoyable from cover to cover. The powerful story of Marlo is one of an adolescent who struggles with forming his own identity and beliefs about women. The reader witnesses the daunting task Marlo has ahead of him in sorting out the fearful, relentless, negative images of women that were engrained in him by his father. Marlo must make up his own mind about women and whether he should take the ultimate risk of falling in love for the first time and whether or not to follow his heart. The portrayal of Marlo by the author is a very human one that is illustrated throughout this book. The First Sandcastle is a book is about growing up, the meaningful relationships that are formed along the way and hard lessons. The ending is dramatic, intense and simply impossible to put down! Like most good books, one feels sad when it's over.
Loved every minute of it!
M. E. Delgado really describes a vivid world. His writing is rather poetic and flows rather nicely. The main character, Marlo, is someone I felt was at my side the entire time I read this book. I almost wish I could speak to Marlo in person. So much I'd love to say to him. A friend at our local art institute had recommended this book to me. I was a bit skeptical at first because I thought the title was more of a how to book. But it is far from that. Marlo Clemente is told at a young age that all women are evil. His parents fight all the time, and this causes Marlo to distance himself away to the beach, where he builds alluring sandcastles he wishes will never fall. You can't help but feel sorry for Marlo as he mentally battles everything his father has programmed in his head. And you can't help but feel a bit passionate about his dreams of becoming an artist too. Though the book does turn into a bit of a romance between he and Desiree, the story never leads you astray, nor does it ever abondon Marlo's struggles as he faces big fears and big dreams.
Barnes & Noble
Characters to care about
Mr. Delgado has written an interesting first novel that should especially appeal to older teenagers and those who vividly remember the excitement and heart aches of those years. I found myself caring about the lead character Marlo and his friends, hoping that his first love would not end badly, that his dreams would be fullfilled. The book has a momentum of its own, with a believable ending that most of us can wistfully relate to in our own experiences. Congratulations to Mr.Delgado for starting his writing career.
Barnes & Noble
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M. E. Delgado