Book Reviews


Tom Pace and Walter Jenkins
5 stars

Tom Pace & Walter Jenkins: Mentor: The Kid & The CEO

Publisher: Mentor Hope. Pages: 150 + Indices and Notes

Let's establish some things straight away. This book comes right out of a stable of 'American Dream', Self-Help-style books. It uses Dale Carnegie's How To Win Friends And Influence People as a guide both within the book itself and outside it. This book was also written by more than one person. But since Walter Jenkins is the one on the inside cover described as a writer, and Tom Pace is described as a businessman and a philanthropist, I'm going to ascribe the literary part of this work to Mr. Jenkins. It's also fair to mention the fact that the book's design and typesetting layout were both arranged by an entirely separate firm called Pneuma Books.

So let's get some things straight before we delve into reviewing this book. The 'author' Tom Pace had more help than most self-publishers get. He had someone to write for him. He had a company to design the book inside and out on his behalf. But what he has clearly done is put his name on the front cover and set up a publishing arm of his own business Mentor Hope LLC. So, at the risk of repeating myself, I'd note that while all self-published authors are expected to seek some expert help, be it typesetting, graphic design, printing, editing, proof-reading, or whatever, Mr. Pace has obviously secured much more help than most self-published authors.

Taking into account what I've said so far, there should be no surprise that this book is beautifully laid out. It is. It's also very short. Its typeface is quite large and generously spaced. It also has wide margins. At a very rough estimate I'd guess that it contains approximately 30, 000 words.

And about the story itself? It's a tale about growing up. Tony is a teenage tearaway. He has been to jail before. He knows the routine. He's quite street-wise, or at least he thinks he is, and nothing is ever his fault. A real literary critic at this point would be totalling the narrative cliches on a calculator! And I'm sure he'd have reached double, or even triple figures by now.

But to a real book-reader how did it feel? I really enjoyed it. It didn't take me long to read. I'd finished it by lunch time. Its dialogue is plausible. The attitudes which Tony displays are both comical and believable. He's a 'Wize Guy' right up until the moment that he gets arrested. And then he can't work out how to tell his mom!

The reading public goes to prison with Tony. Jenkins writes about prison life, prison food, and the daily routine. Tony's life exhibits some of the pressures that we might expect of life behind bars. But I can't help feeling that this version must be highly sanitised.

The book's title gives away the fact that Tony meets a CEO, or chief executive officer, while he is in prison. It's clear that the CEO isn't a prison inmate. He's a philanthropist. At this point you'll have guessed the ending. And to a great extent you'd be right. The book ends well. (I shan't say precisely how.)

In conclusion I'd say that this book has a purpose. It's an inspirational story about a teenage criminal who meets an older, wiser person than himself while he is in prison. It's a story about growing up. The book and the story are obviously crafted to move through the stages of Tony's life as he begins to understand more about his own capacities and more about people and the world around him. Walter Jenkins does a very good job of setting these things out in a pleasant and entertaining manner.

I would heartily recommend that this book be given to young people to read. It's an inspirational tale about growing up. I would also recommend it to anyone who enjoys reading motivational, character-building, self-help books, such as Dale Carnegie's book How To Win Friends And Influence People.

Read Patrick Mackeown's interview with Tom Pace, the founder of the multi-million-dollar PaceButler Corporation and the author of Mentor: The Kid & the CEO, here on Litarena.

Review by Patrick Mackeown, September 2007


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