Genre: Contemporary Fiction
“Francisco Roberto Morelos is trapped in a school run by a cruel, sadistic, corrupt principal nicknamed Evil Espinosa, and she has chosen him to perform a Herculean task. As punishment for disobedience, he must paint 92 portraits of his classmates on a giant wall surrounding the school. He has only 3 weeks to do it, and the portraits must be perfect, or he will face terrible consequences. In his quest to bring those students to life on the wall, Francisco embarks on a journey into their hearts, minds and lives, where he discovers just how much Evil has affected each and every one of them. Evil can only win for so long however, and as his journey comes to an end, Francisco discovers that laughter is not just a means to oppose it, but a potent weapon that can be used to destroy it.
Inspired by the murals of victims of Evil painted on walls throughout Mexico, The Spirit of Laughter is a story about no longer accepting and enduring what Evil dishes out, but standing up and laughing in its face. So laugh, loud and proud, in the face of Evil, just as the children laugh.
A valuable antidote during this time when so many of our leaders are making toxic decisions.”
A native of Ontario, Canada where he recently returned to live, Johnathan R. Rose has a long history of wanderlust, having visited 35 countries, and lived in Mexico and Central America for nearly 12 years, before returning to Canada. This is his second novel.
If you’ve ever read a book or watched a movie where the good guy is an underdog who is trying to win a battle against the bad guy who holds the strings of power, you’ve got the basic idea of this story, at least from a high-level perspective. But I doubt you’ve ever read something quite like this version of that particular trope. That Francisco is young and still figuring things out makes you pull for him even more than you might normally in what’s setup as a battle between good and evil. You might also feel like there is a lesson here for people much older than Francisco, like maybe Ms Espinosa is a stand in for others people who abuse the power they’ve been given, and I think you’re right there too. Whether you take it at face value or prefer to read deeper meanings into it, this story is a thoroughly enjoyable read that I highly recommend.
No significant issues.
Rating: ***** Five Stars
Reviewed by: BigAl
Approximate word count: 50-55,000 words