The Way to Stay in Destiny

 /   /  By Emma Birches
Stone Soup Magazine
March/April 2016

By Augusta Scattergood, Reviewed by Eun Bee (Lena) Park

The Way to Stay in Destiny book cover

The Way to Stay in Destiny, by Augusta
Scattergood; Scholastic Press: New York, 2015;
$16.99

It’s funny how we can adapt to the way we live and call it normal, right to the point where it all changes. Theo had spent his whole life in Kentucky with his grandparents and his dog. But then, in the summer of 1974, his uncle took away everything that was important to him, including his own home. I knew how Theo felt to suddenly have nothing to look forward to, to leave everything behind and start a completely new life.

I was born in South Korea and lived with my grandmother. It wasn’t the best way to live, but I had friends, family, and my life right there that I didn’t want to give up. But over the years, I’ve learned that everything happens for a reason and that everything has a story behind it. When I was seven years old, my aunt brought me to America. It took a while for me to accept that I lost the life I knew but was given a new one; I was expected to embrace a new environment, just like Theo.

The twelve-year-old boy didn’t have it easy—he had to live with his uncle who was a scarred veteran from the Vietnam War. At first, I didn’t approve of their intolerable behavior towards one another. But as I kept flipping the pages, their relationship became clear as I found a way to relate and understand. Uncle Raymond is one of those people that you have to peel back many layers one at a time in order to reach his feelings. Once you peel back the layers, you can actually understand him. During this roller coaster, Theo discovered that sometimes a change is a good thing. That maybe our early life is just to prepare us for the life that is ahead of us.

The characters spoke to me as if they had a real voice that could be heard. And in a way, they did—especially Theo. When his uncle was against the life and hobbies Theo seemed to want, but really needed, Theo stuck with his own opinions and made an entrance to the life he was supposed to live. I love how Theo managed to prove how talents and hobbies such as piano and baseball are not a waste of time. “‘I can’t live without music,’ I answer. I open the piano and play—loud and fast.” If anyone pulls you back from something important or someone you truly love, you just can’t listen to them.

The author made the characters, story, and setting seem realistic with small details such as the big pot of flowers by the sign, the annoying green parrots, and especially the emotions I felt towards the characters. In a very short book that many of us can finish within a day, I was left thirsting for more with a sturdy connection to the characters and events; I felt sympathy and other feelings that cannot be described with words. The Way to Stay in Destiny taught me that there will be times when we have to try out a different road in our lives to help us become the people we were meant to be. This may be a book for children, but I believe the lesson inside can be taught to anyone in this world, no matter what age.

The Way to Stay in Destiny Eun Bee (Lena) Park

Eun Bee (Lena) Park, 12
East Brunswick, New Jersey

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