Editorial Review: A Map of The Edge by David T. Isaak

Editorial Review: A Map of The Edge by David T. Isaak

Rick’s life and all its possibilities may well stretch out before him at just fifteen years old, but in the moment it feels as though he’ll never escape his father and his fists, or his own awkward teenage-ness.

After a lifetime of seeing his mother beaten, Rick doesn’t blame her when she abandons him to his father’s wrath but he doesn’t understand why she took his siblings and not him until one day when the tension between father and son snaps and the truth comes out.

A single, pivotal, moment lands Rick in Juvenile Hall after he makes a split-second decision to protect his perfect girl, Stacy, from trouble.

Rebelling even while incarcerated, Rick refuses to let the barber near his hair – he didn’t cave when his father tried, why should this be any different? Well, because the state penal system has more tools at its disposal than even the most abusive parent. Emerging from the confinements of the institution after learning very quickly how to get along inside, Rick finds his world turned upside down. During his time in detention, his father has sold their house and moved them out of town away from the Hispanic friends he thinks are a bad influence on his son (though he uses much more colorful language), away from school, and worst of all for Rick – away from Stacy.

The terms of his parole, however, are iron clad and he doesn’t want to go to jail so he gets along to get along – just. The new school is filled with different challenges from his old neighborhood, but Rick finds a place amongst the student body alongside the odd but charismatic Lincoln. Together, they traverse the labyrinthine pathways of the California drug scene, blind to the darkness that lurks beneath the surface of their counterculture compatriots.

In "A Map of the Edge," author David T. Issak transports the reader to the sun-soaked dreamscape of 1960s Southern California which is anything but dreamy. This young protagonist embarks on a harrowing, confusing, and enlightening journey through his tumultuous years of psychedelic haze and sexual revolution. In this poignant coming-of-age tale, fifteen-year-old Rick struggles to maintain his sense of self while navigating a world of pain, violence, family secrets, and – of course – heartache.

The evocative writing captures the essence of the Sixties, immersing readers in a world alive with color, music, and the heady scent of possibility. Though, much like the Sixties themselves, the story not all is Free Love and picturesque SoCal landscapes with a joint in hand – much of Rick’s story is mired in racism, homophobia, and a casual acceptance of violence that only comes from overexposure to it.

"A Map of the Edge" captures the indomitable spirit of humanity through adverse conditions, delivering a compelling and thought-provoking narrative that resonates strongly even if you haven’t experienced the Sixties firsthand.