Author: M.J. Harden
Publisher: Aka Press
Release Date: March 31, 2016
Source: I received a free copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review. This has in no way affected my opinion towards the book.
In “It Takes Only One”, written by MJ Harden, we follow Blue Baby in an adventure around the world, meeting several well-known characters, each with a small piece of wisdom to offer. Blue Baby is an “Everyman”, a character with which any reader can identify with. Blue Baby is an innocent child that does not know who he or she is (Blue Baby has no gender, no name, no nationality) and therefore can be anyone.
I compare “It Takes Only One” to “The Little Prince” by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry. Such as the Little Prince, Blue Baby travels and meets several people that always teach him something knew. In a way, it is a coming-of-age story as Blue Baby soon learns that each person has a job in this world and that he alone can make a difference. MJ Harden borrows famous characters from myths and literature such as Pippi Longstocking, Huckleberry Finn and Alice from “Alice in Wonderland” to aid Blue Baby as he/she discovers him/herself which provides a sense of familiarity to the reader.
However, that were also many characters I had never heard off such as Quan Yin, Quetzalcoatl or Hanuman. With “It Takes Only One” I managed to get a glimpse of other cultures and their myths as a footnote was present at the end of each chapter explaining the origin of each character in the previous text. Nevertheless, this meant that I spent most of the chapter completely confused of what was going on and only made sense of things in the end. I thing that this information should somehow be present in the narrative itself as stopping between each chapter to read a few pages of definitions and facts broke the fluidity of the story. This made reading a bit tiresome and often made me put the book down and do something else. Also, when characters such as Alice and Huck were present, the text was written to imitate the literary works from which they were borrowed. This meant that there were various writing styles present in a single book, making it a bit confusing. Additionally, there were so many different characters present that sometimes I felt some of them gave no wisdom at all or just repeated things others had said. It is often heard that less is more and I believe that this book would have benefitted from fewer characters with bigger roles.
Overall, “It Takes Only One” is a collection of stories and myths put together to divulge strong, valuable messages. “For every one there is a reason”, “No cliff is so tall that it cannot be scaled”, “T’is yer life to forge”, “Never ever say you’re small” and “Only you can do your job” are some of the lessons present in this book but the most important one, as the title itself suggests, is that one person can make a big difference. Change always has to start with someone, why not you?