Book Jacket

 

rank  Editors Pick
word count 27703
date submitted 06.12.2009
date updated 25.02.2014
genres: Fiction, Literary Fiction, Comedy
classification: universal
complete

Last Days of the Transitional Objects Institute

Andrea Levin

All over the city, toys are escaping slavery. And finding their way to The Transitional Objects Institute. Revolution?

 

All over the city, toys are escaping slavery at the hands of unimaginative children and their child-centered parents to find safety - as well as a full range of medical, social, and mental health services - at the Transitional Objects Institute. For the world is entering the Age of Realized Toys. Founded in 1952 by the lay analyst Henriette Mendel, the Transitional Objects Institute is a beacon for dolls and teddy bears in the know. But its existence hangs in the balance. Last Days of the Transitional Objects Institute chronicles a two week period in which megalomania - and minor mismanagement - nearly bring the walls down.

An unusually large, nameless bear with a mild speech impediment arrives at the Institute doors after months on the streets. Weeks garotted to the grille of a garbage truck have taken their toll. At the Institute, he is offered a ... new way of life.

What 'Black Beauty' did for the carriage horse, and 'The Jungle' did for slavers in the sausage trade, 'Last Days....' could do for the toy. You will never look at a stuffed bunny the same way again.


 
rate the book

to rate this book please Register or Login

 

tags

comedy, genre-bending, humor, new york, not ya!, redemption, social work, toys, tragedy

on 154 watchlists

320 comments

 

To leave comments on this or any book please Register or Login

subscribe to comments for this book
KMac23 wrote 87 days ago

Andrea,
Sorry to say I didn't check out your book sooner. I was curious when I noticed your review on the forum and saw how many others were in disagreement with what the person said. I've seen people defending some books against reviews, including my own of A Gate Called Beautiful, which I thought they gave a fair enough critique, so figured yours would be similar.

But, after I read the first couple chapters, I found myself shocked by what the person said. I was thinking, if Authonomy could review a story such as yours in this way, then maybe it's not a good site to be on. I found your story deeply moving, meaningful and cleverly sweet, and didn't see any of the things this person spoke of. I'm wondering what kind of books that reviewer normally reads. I couldn't believe he or she said the book sounded 'writerly', is that a word? and 'laborious to read'. I came here expecting to find myself mulling through a thick read trying to decipher each passage and instead, found myself delightfully entertained and enjoying your subtle humor. I didn't once trip up on anything.

And…Toy Story?…what a ridiculous comparison, as the movie and your book are clearly not on the same plane.
I see this as a classic, having a feel more like the Velveteen Rabbit. I just wanted to tell you to keep submitting and surely at some point when the time is right, your book catch the eye of someone who knows a good book when they see one and it will be published.

Kara
Thorneton Le Dale

Tottie Limejuice wrote 364 days ago

Well, my garden didn't get properly weeded today. That's because I lost my heart to a large bear with a Bronx accent and a speech impediment!

I recently asked for suggestions of what to put on my shelf and Richard Maitland suggested this, calling it: "In my opinion, the best book I've read on here, and one long overdue for publication". Which just proves that Mr Maitland is a master of the art of understatement.

I am the pickiest of readers, being a copy editor by profession, but the 3 chapters I have read are flawless. It's more than beautifully written, it is incredibly well crafted, full of delicious description, warmth and underlying humour as well as the pathos. It's been a long time since a battered old teddy bear made me weep, but this one did.

Unique? The word doesn't even begin to come close. It's so genre-bending it needs a new genre creating specifically for it.

Highly starred and shelved for as long as it takes for someone to see what an incredible piece of writing this is.

Tottie Limejuice
Sell the Pig

daveocelot wrote 856 days ago

I'm going away in a few weeks and I've been using that as an excuse to skate by on doing reads. This site does facilitate the creative process in that I keep inventing reasons not to read. Lately, I find that everything I approach makes me want to look almost anywhere else. But I started reading your book on a whim this afternoon and before I knew it I'd read the entire thing.

I really feel that its a remarkable piece of work - brilliantly concieved and executed, beautifully written. I had a notion you might use the story to draw parallels with society and I expected those conceits to be shoehorned in awkwardly. But its all done with such subtlety and consumate skill (I'm thinking here of the Santa God and Mr Finkle's memories of the dizinfektion camps) that it never feels incongruous. In chapter after chapter, you just quietly go about the business of breaking the reader's heart again and again.

With that in mind, I was pleased to find ultimately redemptive character arcs for Bobo and Bixie. But all the main characters feel fully realised (an odd thing to say when they are mostly toys) with even such potentially one-note characters as the Directrix and Hal given fleshed out backstorys that explain their demeanours.

Oddly again, for a book about toys, it feels like the most humane book I've read on this site. And its certainly the very best. I'm going to add it to my shelf where I can gaze at it adoringly, like one of those blue haired old ladies that Dooley managed to elude.

Helianthus wrote 938 days ago

So there I was, minding my business, looking for a good read.

When suddenly.

I can’t think of anything more beautiful than this is. Readers who broke off in a weep after a few chapters should try going the distance; I dare you – it gets more intense. If chapter sixteen leaves you with no lump in your throat, you aren’t human. Maybe you don’t have to be, anymore.

When I was around five, The Velveteen Rabbit broke my heart – so I was immediately minded of it, and tickled to see it mentioned here. This is a more grownup Rabbit, but I felt the same huge guilt. I dreamed of these toys last night, and woke in a child's sweat.

My husband collects Teddy Bears. After I finished reading this, I went in and looked at them, deep into their shiny glass Steiff eyes. I felt their ears, and I wondered.

…maybe.

Jaye Hill wrote 1142 days ago

I have just decided I'm going to have to give up writing and become a publisher instead - specifically to be able to publish this book. It's a wonderful, wonderful read - every second sentence is a joy (this is me turning into a gushy authonomite again , but just occasionally you really have to). I have enjoyed all I've read - particularly the lifttle lifts to get the clients up to the desk and then Dudley's various suicide attempts. It is the unexpectedness of it that make it such a pleasure to read and the acute use of language - and such language (I too loved the 'gladdened waddle'.) Backed and on my shelf, Jaye

desiree lane wrote 63 days ago

Congrats!

t23please wrote 80 days ago

Your review was really picky. I think you were unlucky. Hope you stick with the writing-thing.

Bon Chance.

Tim

David G. Turner wrote 85 days ago

I read your HC review in one of the forums. What a disappointment! This is a good story that deserves better.

Nick Poole2 wrote 87 days ago

I can't resist reviewing the review and then reviewing the reviews of the review.

First though, what have the Authonomites said over the months/years?

Here's me....1499 days ago!

*This is a good idea and for the most part well executed. I think you could zero in more on the point of view character so that you tell less and we experience more. For instance you tell us that the bear sees something rather than just show us what he sees...maybe use a bit of internal monologue in the bear's distinctive voice.

But the concept is strong and I think this will do well here.*

I have changed my view slightly on point of view and now think that a successful distant third point of view depends upon the personality or engaging-ness of the narrator. The narrator is a character too, unless you are trying to be "invisible" when the character will be imbued from the point-of-view character at that moment.

It's telling some "respected" reviewers...John Booth, T L Tyson, Kim Jewell ... all mentioned Toy Story or Pixar, something the anonymous HC reviewer gets slated for by the new generation of Authonomites.

So what about that HC review? Is it fair?

First we have the question of objectivity and subjectivity. Should a review be a personal response or a dispassionate opinion on the story's "quality"?

When I crit/review (and when I receive one) I prefer a personal response. Even if it is something like, "I hated this because the main character is called Maud and I had an aunt called that and she smelled like piss", or whatever. Even, I think this is shit because you dissed my masterpiece...at least that would be honest. Pure visceral reaction, that's what I want and what I give. Bored? Say so. Irritated by the voice of the narrator? Say so.

So is the HC review honest? I think so. No false tact of diplomacy here. We know what he/she thinks. The distant narrator with the interesting adverbs, detached POV and occasional convoluted or literary flourish. It's the sort of style used by would-be humourists as a pastiche of nineteenth century style and lends itself to the bathos of olde worlde meets street level brash when required. The HC reviewer, obviously, hates it.

But wait, you cry! The HC reviewer has another responsibility. As the gatekeeper of the (dying?) marketplace, he (or she) needs to make an objective appraisal of the commercial potential of the work. Has he/she done that?

Well, who knows? In the world of black swans and dead certs dying, who can say what will sell and what won't?

So waht we have is what we have. The reviewer hated the style and lots of you disagreed. But heh! Doesn't mean he/she was wrong, but it doesn't make the book's fans wrong either.

KMac23 wrote 87 days ago

Andrea,
Sorry to say I didn't check out your book sooner. I was curious when I noticed your review on the forum and saw how many others were in disagreement with what the person said. I've seen people defending some books against reviews, including my own of A Gate Called Beautiful, which I thought they gave a fair enough critique, so figured yours would be similar.

But, after I read the first couple chapters, I found myself shocked by what the person said. I was thinking, if Authonomy could review a story such as yours in this way, then maybe it's not a good site to be on. I found your story deeply moving, meaningful and cleverly sweet, and didn't see any of the things this person spoke of. I'm wondering what kind of books that reviewer normally reads. I couldn't believe he or she said the book sounded 'writerly', is that a word? and 'laborious to read'. I came here expecting to find myself mulling through a thick read trying to decipher each passage and instead, found myself delightfully entertained and enjoying your subtle humor. I didn't once trip up on anything.

And…Toy Story?…what a ridiculous comparison, as the movie and your book are clearly not on the same plane.
I see this as a classic, having a feel more like the Velveteen Rabbit. I just wanted to tell you to keep submitting and surely at some point when the time is right, your book catch the eye of someone who knows a good book when they see one and it will be published.

Kara
Thorneton Le Dale

LeoLibra wrote 171 days ago

This was an enchanting read. The speech patterns were a real treat. I hope HC recognise the brilliance of the writing.

5 stars

richardruck wrote 172 days ago

This has more commercial potential than the majority of fringe-competent literary titles with nothing else to recommend them. There's just no way even a NYT review is going to sell that dreck in significant numbers, because there's no virality whatsoever. The sheer concept here could potentially intrigue, and the chapters I've read are very well-constructed. I think you already won the Authonomy "let a junior editor with a good language score on the SAT say something half-bright about your book" sweepstakes, but salu.

t23please wrote 173 days ago

Congrats on your medal! :)

Karen Eisenbrey wrote 184 days ago

Andrea,

I love the title and the whole premise of Last Days of the Transitional Objects Institute. I have so far read three chapters and hope to come back for more.

I'm a big fan of stories that are _as if_ for children but are actually for adults. I don't know how much audience there is beyond me, but based on your position in the top 5, it must be extensive. (Unfortunately, some will mistake this for a children's story and be offended at the profanity. I wasn't, but you might consider it). This could be Toy Story 4.

The institute is well imagined and quirkily detailed, as is the bear's personality, even without a name. I particularly loved that one of the therapists is a security blanket (that was my TO). Miss Maisie's report was a great way to capture the tone of the place while providing the bear's backstory in technical terms.

I didn't find a lot of needed edits, but here's what I did note:

Ch 2
the homeless guy "cursed objectively." I'm not sure what this means.

undfolded should be unfolded

Ch 3
The little parenthetical bits within Smith's monologue shouldn't be within the quotes, since he's not saying them. " . . . Mind that plant." (Here the frond . . . snout). "Most of our residents . . ."

I'll be back!

Karen Eisenbrey
CRANE'S WAY
ENDURANCE
TIME SQUARED

Otter wrote 184 days ago

CLOG FFF Review: The Last Days of The Transitional Institute.

This is my second visit to Bobo and friends, and a second, second makes me smile. This is the second book that I know of on this site, where the Author has been commissioned by fictional characters to write a book.
It is a testimony to the power of imagination, revealed through books and cinema that readers do not blink an eyelid at the concept of inanimate objects being anything other than that.

BoBo is in a mess – his place in the world clearly defined by the sparse lines – when the homeless man shook his fist at him. So much is delivered in a small, vivid image. This is what elevates this writing above the ordinary – not flamboyant prose, not obscure words – simple every day words so well drawn together, that they reach for the stars in their efforts to communicate, feeling, sights, pain, smell, love , endurance and above all, the soul of a toy.

And as if being an out of work defective isn’t bad enough, attached to the grille of a garbage truck seems a hanging should be the judgement on the bin-man, but the real stop in your tracks moment is the idea that “buddy” refused to be saved.

The writing is excellent, the characterisation excellent, the concepts excellent – everything about this screams excellence.

But I have a problem. Transferring such sad burdens onto Toys, flies in the face of the joy I see in the eyes of children, when they reach forward with innocent love and touch their new friend, in its shiny box on its shelf in a toy store.

High stars for excellent writing and I can see why Alistair recommended this before it flew from the nest.

Alas, it is not a read which captured me. It should have, but for some reason, it did not tug at my heartstrings.

Karen Eisenbrey wrote 185 days ago

Andrea,

I am floored by your pitch alone. This goes on my Must Read List. More later.

Karen

Baudelaire De Fraise wrote 190 days ago

CLOG review.

What a brilliant story. I can only describe it as a cross between Toy Story and a Brothers Grimm tale. It's dark, funny, thought provoking and, most of all, a joy to read.

I had a lump in my throat as I read Bobo's back story, which, as a forty year old man, this is no mean feat. Bixie's relationship with his father is rather interesting.

I've not read a book before in which a toy commits suicide and another carries out patricide, albeit because voices told him to do it. But when these things happen they're not sensational or written to shock, but merely convey how some toys have picked up negative sides of humanity and not just the good.

The way in which it is explained how toys become animate and how their personalities are formed, makes perfect sense. The 'science' behind it just seems totally plausible. I'll have to watch what I'm saying in front of teddy tonight.

I think this story maybe too dark for some younger kids, but for everybody else I would highly recommend it.

Donal O'Keefe wrote 194 days ago

Okay... different and original! well done!

Brian G Chambers wrote 195 days ago

Andrea
I came across your book here and it caught my eye, so I had to read some of it. It is not at all what I expected. I thought it would be a children's story about a bear. It is much more than this though. It has sentiment and depth to it that one would not believe unless they read the story. I am a grown man, yet I shed a tear or two for teddy. I don't know where you are heading with it, but it reminded me in a way of the ugly duckling. I hope in a way it is similar and that it has a happy ending. I have never been so touched reading a book since I was a boy reading the afore mentioned. High stars from me. Very well done.
Brian.
PS
If you could find time to read some of my work and leave a comment, I'd be most grateful.

Morven James wrote 195 days ago

CLOG review.
Last Days of the Transitional Objects Institutes, Andrea Levin.
“Love an unusual viewpoint, and this certainly qualifies.
Who wouldn't want to pick up "Big Bear", give him a name he likes, and take him right home?
I've only read chapter 1, but I'm going to enjoy this.” This was my first impression.
Then I was puzzled, the theme [at that time] seemed to be for children, yet written in a definite adult style. I scrolled up. It was listed as “literary fiction, comedy”. Even critics and accredited writers seem unable to reach a consensus on the meaning of “literary fiction”.
I turned to the author’s own comments. Somebody had likened “Last Days” to Toy Story – it seemed to hit a nerve.
The author’s reply:
“... I'd never heard of Toy Story until years after finishing the novel. Maybe I should see the movie - I hear it's entertaining. But it's got nothing to do with the book. Call it convergent evolution, if there are similarities. The book is more closely related to Animal Farm...”
Animal Farm is a political novel satirising Communism and the individuals of the Politburo. “Last Days” is more of an allegorical social fantasy: the toys are the “damaged” people in society, and the unfeeling children who have lost their magic, represent today’s millions who turn their backs on the “damaged”. But of course it also deals with the less than adequate treatment of those needing rehabilitation, [as in piglet’s father and of course poor old hobbyhorse], liken that to the “cured” criminally insane discharged into society...
I read to the end of chapter 4 and found it be a sometimes amusing, but a rather depressing representation of society. Perhaps I should have stayed with the fantasy image.
And that is, I believe where the problem lies – in the classification. To classify the book as “Fantasy” would probably attract more readers, but would be less than accurate. I believe the “bean counters” as the author calls them, are correct, “Last Days” probably wouldn’t make sufficient money, and today, unfortunately, that is what publishing is all about. It is a profit making industry, just like any other [and I am certainly not saying that editors don’t care, but marketing have the final word]. However, they have been wrong before – with notable examples, [I’ll miss the obvious] say, “Call of the Wild”.
So, to sum up: The writing is excellent, the characterisation brilliant. I have no idea about a Bronx accent, but it sounds good to me. It’s the little touches to detail [Bobo’s badly stitched mouth] [another toy telling him that he is a “detective” – very clever] these are the mark of a good writer.
I wish the author good luck at the ED
Morven,
The Buck Stops Here

Milorossi wrote 196 days ago

CLOG
Read till chapter 3 o 4..I forget when the interest stopped exactly.
REVIEW
Well written, perfect descriptions, brief, succinct and able to project an entire street, buildings,etc....
the story: melanconic, and "Goth". There is soul behind the "Teddy Bear"- it's heartbreaking..
Would I continue to read it after 3 chapter: NO.
Or should I say, if I had it in paperback, I'd read one chapter every once in a while.
The vibe is "sadness"..and it's well written, but I couldn't gobble it all up in one go.

The story itself doesn't pique my interest.
It piqued it at first...but then I could see where it's going:
"The bear" wanted a name.(Bobo). The girl was his best friend. Bobo doesn't understand or maybe he does, his emotions.

SO, to me the book promises to be a "blues intimate heartbreak fest"..It's like a Massive Attack song..that doesn't change it's beat for the whole 4 minutes..But in a song that's cool..In a book, for me, no. Unless it's like a thriller or a comedy.
AND EVEN IF the book was comedy, I don't want to much of it or else I start to second guess the author..and the funny becomes unfunny..
BOTTOM LINE: TRANSITIONAL OBJECT:
Would make a good short story or a good indie 80 minutes long movie.

But as a book..I couldn't drag my heart through it.
But if it came out, I'd buy a copy for my gothish/slightly depressed girl friends for their b-days.
And I'm sure, It'll be their favorite book..and just maybe, if I was divorced..I could use the leverage of my book giving to, you know what I mean..

Temulkar wrote 197 days ago

CLOG after a longer reading.

I'm glad I came back for more.

Prologue worked for me I know a lot of people dont like them but it fits. It's not full of great belly laughs more a long chuckle

The pace as the story unfolds was excellent suucking me in again. This isn't something I would pick up normally but is so well written and intriguing right from the start.

I liked the use of dialect in the dialogue, not just Bobo's New Yorker but the hint of RP from the hobby horse was all understated but gave a sense of character.

Maisie's assessment of Bobo was equally heartbreaking and funny and really well done.

I think the genre bending tag suits the whole piece. It doesn't really fit into any real genre and that is a real strength if it can get the initial exposure.

Certainly made me think.

Alastair Miles wrote 197 days ago

CLOG Review

For some reason I always find it harder to write reviews of books that are as close to perfect as makes no odds. What can I possibly do but sing this book's praises?

The concept is great, a refuge for badly treated toys. The central character is terrific, namely, Bobo the bear with the Bronx accent (phonetically written accents are never usually that good but his is extremely funny, probably because it's limited to the odd word). The book is also written extremely competently, it has the 'dreaded' literary fiction tag admittedly, but the vocabulary is varied without the writer trying too hard.

As to the structure of the story - I found the prologue to be spot on. The note from the archivist neatly sets the scene, hints at enough to intrigue the reader and doesn't outstay its welcome. The story itself starts of quite light and pleasant, and funny enough to call itself a comedy; but then it starts to become incredibly moving too, something I didn't expect and, yet again, extremely well done.

The way this story turns, and how this isn't clear at the outset, is possibly the book's only problem. Don't get me wrong, I've no issue with the story, just (possibly) how it's presented. Early into chapter one I was thinking 90 000+ words is too long for a children's book (I was going by the description and the universal rating) only to find that it is considerably more grown up. Perhaps I missed a nuance in the back story but this could be clearer to me. Maybe this is why this book has taken 4 years to come to its deserved fruition.

Still, whatever the reason, I'm glad it's finally done so. It well deserves to top the HC lists, easily one of the best pieces I've seen on here and it deserves to be published.

Top marks from me and, if anyone dares to try and knock it out of the top 5 at this late stage, it'll get a backing too – I'm only not doing so because I don't think it needs it.

Best wishes,
Alastair
Going Afterlife

Temulkar wrote 198 days ago

CLOG (inital read)

There really isn't a lot to say that hasn't already been said. It's brilliant, original and funny. I was drawn in and captivated from the first page. Superbly written I'm glad its at the ED and if it isn't published it will be a crime.

Don't know whether to be chuffed at such a great read or gutted that my writing will never be this good.

maximum stars.

Kestrelraptorial wrote 200 days ago

Wow, this story is almost too intense for me to know what to say. It’s very sad from the beginning, learning about the bear’s past and the boy who sees him move, asks him to move again, and Bobo doesn’t. Although, I though the bear said he hated the name Bobo, so why does he stick with it? You know, some cultures believe that inanimate objects given some level of reverence, like heirlooms or special toys, will become living creatures after a long period of time. At some point you can almost look at them and see what they and the people who’ve held them have been through.

Alucard wrote 200 days ago

Was recommended me by a friend.
Well done :)

twomster wrote 201 days ago

CLOG
Crud. What a great word - am I a bit weird that this one word made me smile last night, and I am smiling again now recalling it? A proper review will follow.
Thanks.
Paul.

Janet/Helen wrote 201 days ago

Last Days of the Transitional Objects Institute. Ch 1 to 10.

I can't really add anything to the comments already posted. This is a wonderful read and certainly one of the books on this site which genuinely deserves to be considered by HC. 6 stars and backed. Janet

Janet/Helen
The Stranger In My Life

LizzieG wrote 203 days ago

Literary gem, Authonomy treasure. Go, Bobo.

Pia wrote 204 days ago

http://authonomy.com/forums/threads/65697/the-last-days-/?pagenumber=12#AnchorComment

Time to show up. I hope you're well.

Pia wrote 204 days ago

Hope you're well. It's time Andrea. Your book is on the desk. Have a show ☼
http://authonomy.com/forums/threads/65697/the-last-days-/?pagenumber=12#AnchorComment

Pia wrote 204 days ago

Hope you're well. It's time Andrea. Your book is on the desk. Have a show ☼
http://authonomy.com/forums/threads/65697/the-last-days-/?pagenumber=12#AnchorComment

Alan O' Dowd wrote 205 days ago

This novel is simply stunning ! It deserves to be published and join the best sellers list ! The central character is clever and his story tugs at the heart strings ( I did reach for a tissue more often the more I read ). Casting a story with toys and journeying through their feelings, outlook and emotions is genius ( as someone who loves toys this definitely touched a raw nerve of emotion ) Personally, i feel as though the beauty of this novel is the defined by your central character, the charismatic, multi-layered hero ( with a speech impediment to boot ) whose plight i followed with admiration and genuine affection ! The parallels between toys and human experience is very clever also ( and also quite shocking and dark at times !) will of course be backing this book, shelving it and rating it because it is simply a fantastic piece of writing ! I wish you success with this book !
Alan
Into the Lake of Fire

Morven James wrote 205 days ago

CLOG [Initial read only]
Last Days of the Transitional Objects Institutes, Andrea Levin.
Love an unusual viewpoint, and this certainly qualifies.
Who wouldn't want to pick up "Big Bear", give him a name he likes, and take him right home?
I've only read chapter 1, but I'm going to enjoy this.
Watchlist, high stars
All the very best,
Morven
The Buck Stops Here

CJBowness wrote 206 days ago

This is absolutely delightful. What can I say? You have put your finger on so many aspects of the human condition, quite lightly, that a whole world is revealed. It reminds me of The Little Wooden Horse and the Velveteen Rabbit (as mentioned below). I love this sort of book because it is at the same time funny and deeply moving and thus teaches its readers a whole lot about courage and hope, which you are subtle enough to make them feel they have discovered for themselves.

I have awarded it top stars and put it on my bookshelf.

CJ Bowness

Colophon wrote 207 days ago

There's a lot of buzz about this book in the forums and I can see why.

About "To the Reader":

Interesting that you chose Mendel as the scientific name. :)

I think you should ease back on the italics for "the", "history" and "story". You don't need them.

Not sure about the capital on Troubles either. Understand the idea but I'm not sure it works with that particular word.

Not sure "effort" is the ideal word either. (implies potential failure) And I think that paragraph could be reduced as it feels a little like you as author doing a bit of clarification. To be honest I'm not sure you should draw so much attention to the level of fictionalisation in the report because it may break the spell. Anyway I think it would pay to be slightly more succinct there.

I think you overplay the ending of the section slightly. It works, but you could pare it down a bit.

Suggestion:

You may even believe them to be 'cute', and find that reason enough to revile them. (Question mark doesn't fit there.)

But perhaps you've seen things -- things that made you wonder, just for a moment.

About the possibility that handmade things have soul and psyche.

(Have a think about "handmade" because the technical meaning of that is hand-crafted as opposed to factory made, and since most toys are factory made you may not be saying quite what you mean there. Whether that matters I don't know. Worth a thought maybe.)

I don't think you should worry about adding the concept of "the truth" at the end rather than relying on "possibility" to carry it. In terms of the read, it won't matter that the concept has drifted from truth to possibility because you're addressing an imagined unbeliever at that point, it would be okay to stick to possibility just to streamline the prose (and strengthen the overall effect) there. In my opinion. (The insistence on the "truth" feels like an unnecessary insertion and delays the payoff line.)

(Bear in mind that "the truth" doesn't match up well with "may have" in that final sentence. You're mixing concepts there.)

Just a few thoughts, anyway, in case they're useful. Good luck with this.






CM Waller wrote 209 days ago

Dear Andrea,

Review based on first 4 chapters.

Congratulations on a wonderfully unique story, which has all the hallmarks of a modern day classic. This is bound to bring out the inner child in every reader. It has brought be back to my own childhood, in particular a TV programme called 'The Raggy Dolls' which also featured toys.

The characters you have created are so charming. Bobo is a wonderful main character and I love, love, love the idea of a hobby horse, that's so clever.

As well as wonderful characters, your writing is of a very high standard. The dialogue, where you occasionally drop letters/write phonetically to indicate the accent and tone, works well.

The only minor nit / query I had was in chapter 3, "Was he a nice guy or makin' a joke on me?" the bear wondered - perhaps this might be better as wondered aloud as I assumed it meant in his head and then was briefly puzzled as to why/how the security guard answered him!

I can see that you are going to reach the desk most likely in October and I will keep an eye out to ensure this is the case. If this looks in doubt I will be happy to help out with a backing to help you cross the threshold. In the meantime, high, high stars.

All the best,
Celine
El Capa vs Anakhine

Belinda Walker wrote 209 days ago

CLOG review.
Delighful. A modern parable. This book can be read on so many levels. The strange and enchanting mix of great sadness with warm humour really sets this book apart from others. The whole thing about today's children not understanding magic and the sorrow and bewilderment of the toys is hearbreaking. I saw a discarded rag doll being tied to the front of a bin truck and had to suppress the urge to rescue her - that's how this gets to you. You will need a box of tissues to read it - to wipe away the tears but also to stuff in your mouth to suppress wild laughter. The word 'unique' is over-used these days but I think it can be applied to this. Best thing on authonomy I have seen so far.
Belinda
Teatime of the Dead - A Peoplestone People Mystery

Michelle Richardson wrote 210 days ago

Clog Review- Interesting, thought-provoking, and with enough magic to keep me reading on, it's easy to see why this will soon land a place on the editor's desk. I loved the American feel to it, and the great names the author has conjured. A delightful read, and I look forward to reading more when time allows.

Michelle- 43 Primrose Avenue

nautaV wrote 210 days ago

Dear Andrea,
The idea of your book is great, the implementation is wonderful.Your book reflects the shady corners of the incognizable phenomenon, we call Life. The beacon of the Transitional Objects Institute gives hopes to stuffed folks but will those hopes come true?
I like unmistakably caught features of our life, your characters brilliantly reflect. They are all live and recognizable. Thank you for the glimpse of an unvarnished life, for emotions it arises.
Six stars and my convinced belief this book will be a great success one day.
Trying to be helpful, I'd pay your attention to:
Ch.2
1."The large dear was just about to put a question to Mr. Jinks..." ( a new paragraph?)
2." 'Uh, I got some dockaments here...' he said undfolding..." ('unfolding'?)

Thanks again!
Valentine But
Escape

hockgtjoa wrote 210 days ago

This is a marvelous work with a brilliant concept. I wish I had thought this up! I must confess to a couple of words that baffle--e.g., "innominate" zone and gymbaled.
Will back in October.

MatthewBrenn wrote 211 days ago

I like it. Like both the premise and your writing. Good luck, you're almost to the editor's desk!

Matt

MatthewBrenn wrote 211 days ago

I like it. Like both the premise and your writing. Good luck, you're almost to the editor's desk!

Matt

Robyn Quaker wrote 212 days ago

Last Days of the Transitional objects Institute by Andrea Levin
Absolutely brilliant. What a gem. Only a therapist could have such insight! Well written. Different to anything I've read in a while. The detail is fabulous..the 37 cycles when BoBo has a wash. His speech impediment due to a lip crookedly sewn. Mr Jinks! What a character. I laughed so much when l read that his therapist was a security blanket.
This has got to be published. I want to buy it for lots of friends. It would be great on screen.
I am so glad that I read on the forum that this book was recommended by R. Maitland and many others.
I loved the pieces of paper all folded in eighths taken from the box he was delivered in. I can cope with people better if I see them as animals so this really appeals to me.
The highest of stars and Good Luck. Look forward to reading more.
Robyn Quaker
Halfpennies And Blue Vinyl

Twistedbiscuits wrote 214 days ago

I don't know what to say. This is an amazing story.

J.Adams wrote 220 days ago

I read and backed Last Days of the Transitional Objects Institute quite a while ago, and am back again to try to leave a comment on this well-written gem -- finally.

"The truth that even handmade things may have soul and psyche"

Entwining The Velveteen Rabbit with I Never Promised You a Rose Garden, and tossing in a little humor -- beautiful, poetic, brilliant, charming, funny, sad, clever, and important. This is more a book about life than a book about stuffed animals. I find myself and others I know on many of these pages.

I didn't comment the first time around because I didn't know what to say. I find that I still don't, really. This is a fantastic story. Read it.

Karen McKenzie wrote 226 days ago

I think that what makes this so endearing, aside from being well written, is that it brings back memories of childhood, when stuffed toys were loved with the whole heart and unconditionally, and were sometimes the only person who understood. It reminds me of the genuine terror at losing that companionship. But it is more than that - this book has soul.

Karen McKenzie wrote 226 days ago

I think that what makes this so endearing, aside from being well written, is that it brings back memories of childhood, when stuffed toys were loved with the whole heart and unconditionally, and were sometimes the only person who understood. It reminds me of the genuine terror at losing that companionship. But it is more than that - this book has soul.

Richard Maitland wrote 227 days ago

This book is, quite simply, a classic in the making.

Vithereader wrote 227 days ago

Lovely, you had me crying for a teddy.

Lara wrote 229 days ago

Another backing as, at last, this nears the desk. Wonderful stuff. RM
A RELATIVE INVASION
SPEECHLESS

PAM30 wrote 238 days ago

This is such a wonderful read. I don't have anything to nitpick since I read it as a reader and not as a writer. This was funny and you can almost imagine and relate to the toys as if they were humans. Do they have a soul? Makes me think. How I wish this would me made into a cartoon..... lovely, lots of stars and backing.
Cheers
Pam

PAM30 wrote 238 days ago

This is such a wonderful read. I don't have anything to nitpick since I read it as a reader and not as a writer. This was funny and you can almost imagine and relate to the toys as if they were humans. Do they have a soul? Makes me think. How I wish this would me made into a cartoon..... lovely, lots of stars and backing.
Cheers
Pam

Belinda Walker wrote 256 days ago

Hi
Almost finished this now, and it is definately one of the best books I have read on this site. It is certainly one I could easily imagine buying at the local bookshop - I sincerely hope you manage to get this published. It's one of these books that makes you smile at the warm humour and insight one minute and have you trying to hold back the tears the next. The bit about the magic being worked out of small children over several generations is so true. I will never look at bear in quite the same way again. Well done for making this unusual idea work and good luck with publication.
Belinda
Teatime of the Dead

Belinda Walker wrote 259 days ago

This is wonderful! You have made me believe that teddy bears are real again (something which I knew very well to be true at age six, but sadly grew out of, as we all do...). A really good original idea. I have it on my watchlist now and back it when a space becomes available on my bookshelf. Well done.
Belinda Walker
Teatime of the Dead - A Peoplestone People mystery