May 18, 2018
That Place of Knowledge by Philip Alan Shalka
That Place of Knowledge is an interesting short story by Philip Alan Shalka.
Philip is an autistic, non-verbal but adventurous 15-year old boy. Assigned to him is Sabre, an autism assistance dog who loves adventures just as much as Philip does.
Sabre enjoys their routine together including walks in the morning, relaxing by the pool and going somewhere fun in the afternoon. Then one day, Philip decides to go on an adventure. He dives onto the pool followed by Sabre, swims down the bottom and opens a secret door that leads to a magical city that resembles Ancient Greek cities where they meet the philosopher Aristotle. Within the city stands a huge building that houses several hallways of every type of knowledge. Philip, with Sabre beside him, enjoys his time talking with Aristotle and learning a lot from him about life.
Told in the first person perspective of the dog Sabre, this is a profound and moving story about being different. The author, though non-verbal but apparently smart and impressively introspective, brings up very important lessons in life: self-awareness and self-acceptance. Moreover, the book emphasizes the relevance of relaxation, simplicity, happiness and contentment, among others. Finally, the author leaves food for thought that the readers could contemplate on like:
‘Being content and satisfied are lasting forms of happiness’ and
‘The answer to the complicated questions always begins with simplicity’
This is, indeed, a great and well-written book. However, it seems like this book is written for certain types of readers as superficial ones may not appreciate it as much as those certain readers would.