Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Book Review: Collect All 21, by John Booth

Did you play with Star Wars toys as a kid? Do you have fond memories of adventure fueled afternoons pitting miniature Lukes against tiny Vaders with the fate of your backyard hanging in the balance? Did you mail away for Boba Fett, and were you pissed off when he didn't fire his damn rocket?

Then you really need to read John Booth's excellent Collect All 21: Memoirs of a Star Wars Geek (The First 30 Years).  In it, Booth recounts his experiences with Star Wars, both the movie and the line of toys it launched. Free-flowing and episodic, it flits from one story to the next while eschewing any attempt at a linear narrative -- kind of like memories themselves. Booth, a journalist and toy collector, is a funny and engaging writer, and I enjoyed following his younger self through his various adventures.

But Collect All 21's real strength is in its ability to trigger the reader's own memories. Each of Booth's stories called up another chapter from my own life with Star Wars. I found myself flashing back to the days when my friends and I would play with our action figures and send our ships into all sorts of strange misadventures. It was kind of an amazing sensation.

It's easy to see the giant crater left left behind after Star Wars blasted the pop culture landscape. What Collect All 21 does is remind us that the explosion was ignited by the imaginations of a zillion young fans.

Like John Booth. Like me. Like you.

Information on purchasing the book, as well as reviews, excerpts, and information on the author can be found here:

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