Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Journal of a UFO Investigator by David Halperin

Posted by Simcha 3:47 PM, under | 5 comments

Danny Shapiro is an awkward teenager boy with a sick mother, a disapproving father and few friends. But Danny’s troubles are set aside as he recounts his adventures as a UFO investigator, beginning with his first encounter with a UFO, in 1962. Realty and fiction blur in Danny’s vivid tale of a secret society, a stolen journal, an alien seductress and the three sinister “Men in Black” who are on Danny’s trail.

Journal of a UFO Investigator is a quirky but compelling coming-of-age story about a boy who creates for himself a new reality as a way of escaping from his own difficult circumstances. Danny’s adventures of UFOs, aliens, and sinister villains is occasionally interrupted by his real-life troubles, as his mother’s health deteriorates, his friends drift away and his father continues to express scorn for the son that he doesn’t understand.

    He says: “What was all that stuff you were hollering to yourself in here? ‘Who are you, what are you?’- something like that?”
    So he was awake. We all were. In a death house, sleep comes hard.
    I feel myself turn red. “I don’t remember.”
    “You ought to know better than to go yelling like that in the middle of the night. With Mom so sick.”
    "I’m sorry.”
    He glares as me; in my mind I shrink to nothing. To keep myself from vanishing, I look at my essay, let my fingers graze the edges of its pages. This isn’t like the UFO journal, doesn’t come from a special place of truth as the journal does. It’s in school assignment style, though in school they’ll never care about what the passage of time feels like when you’re in pain. But like the journal, it might pass for grown-up writing. I suppose that’s why I’m in the finals. I run my fingers over the thin, crinkly sheets, hoping that’ll give me strength to endure what’s coming.

Through Danny’s imagination we get taken on a wild journey through time and space, never knowing what the story will throw at us next. I certainly wasn’t expecting a visit to Israel in 1960, via UFO, which was one of my favorite parts. But there seems to be a little of everything in this book so I shouldn’t have been surprised.

At the points where Danny is forced back to reality we get caught up on the events taking place in his life which gives us some understanding of what fuels the events in his story. Through his story Danny pours out the dreams, desires and frustrations that he is unable to share with anyone else in his life. And along the way Danny does make new discoveries about himself and even manages to find some of those answer that he has been looking for.

Journal of a UFO Investigator is very different from anything that I've read before, both in style and content, and I was pleasantly surprised at how much I ended up enjoying it. I had a bit of trouble getting into to the story in the beginning because I couldn't tell which events were meant to be real and which fictional, but then I just stopped worrying about it let the story sweep me up. I'm now really glad that I was willing to step a bit out of my reading comfort zone in order to try this book and I think it's something I'm going to have to do more often.

Journal of a UFO Investigator is a wonderful book for anyone interested in a unique coming-of-age story, and especially for those who grew up with their own dreams of investigating UFOs and the mysteries of outer space.

About the Author:

In the 1960s, David Halperin was a teen-age UFO investigator. Later he became a professor of religious studies — his specialty, religious traditions of heavenly ascent.

From 1976 through 2000, David taught Jewish history in the Religious Studies Department at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. Now retired from teaching, he lives in North Carolina with his wife Rose. Journal of a UFO Investigator is his first novel.


I think is one of those books that I just pass over, and that I might have actually enjoyed but wont give a chance

Oh, this sounds cute and fun. :) Cool idea. Thanks for the review!

Sounds like a great read. Thanks for the review! :)

Happy reading,


Blodeuedd: I know what you mean. I probably wouldn't have read this book if the author hadn't asked me to review it. And while it's different from the kind of books that I normally read I'm really glad I did read it because I very much enjoyed it.

Melissa: It's different from what you normally read but I think you still would enjoy it. It's fun to try something different every now and then.

This does sound very different from anything I've read before - a little sci-fi mixed in with the heartbreak. But not so unusual an idea; after all when I was a child I escaped to imaginary worlds to escape the difficulties of reality.

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