Book review: Ci is for Cireelia: by Arthur Areyan

book cover arthur portrait

Ci is for Cireelia: Book One: The Journey Yet Unknown

In this evocative young adult ebook, by Arthur Areyan, a Princeton-area writer, the young narrator Tim rescues himself from sadistic parental abuse by meditating and evoking his imagination. It’s as if he knew Carl Sagan’s quote, Imagination will often carry us to worlds that never were. But without it we go nowhere.

Descriptions of physical abuse are hard to read: “He said it hurt him as much as it hurt me – in a sadistic, devoid of all feelings tone of voice as he coiled the belt. That same crooked smile..”

The boy’s emotions are trampled:  “How many times I wish I could disappear – become invisible and leave without being nudged, looked at with disgust or pricked with a vile word or name.”

Yet Areyan writes like an old-fashioned poet, and his evocative images can be soothing: “Those were the longest two-and-a-half months when a day lasted as long as two stitched together with burlap threads of missing and longing.”

Early on, the narrative offers hope. Tim searches for answers and tries to believe in himself. “I know it’ll be all right. Don’t ask me how I know it. I just do.. . . You know the times when you are most lonely, and you reach out or more like broadcast your thoughts and deep feelings – then, all of the sudden, you feel the presence that in thoughts reassures you that it will be alright.”

The abusive incidents lasted too long, but it was hard to put down. I read this on my cell phone, paging through quickly, eager to find out how Tim would survive from the next horrible thing that was going to happen to him.

Here’s a glimmer of what Tim is able to do: “Reading unleashes my imagination, and imagination removes the boundaries of the physical…Then setting my sight onto a bright planet I fold the distance with my own neuro-ionic mind drive. I practice this fine art of day dreaming a lot more than it’s OK with my teachers and just about everyone else.”

Then (spoiler alert) the abuse gets so bad that the authorities step in to protect him from his parents — but not from the scientists, who get an inkling of Tim’s amazing talents.

The scientist will use Tim for a dangerous experiment. At first the scientist “can’t live with an idea of sacrificing an eleven-year old for a set of data, no matter how ground-breaking it promises to be.” But then, “The more he thought about Tim the more his conscious was finding ways to justify an extensive research and the fainter the voice of righteousness was becoming. To have a chance to understand what was happening inside this boy’s incredible mind is an opportunity he will not miss for anything.”

The plot may be hard to believe —  not just from the science fiction standpoint but also from the “why would a person be like this” standpoint. The mother is pictured as too busy in her career to interfere with the sadistic abuse that her second husband inflicts on Tim. I couldn’t imagine such a mother, but perhaps this aberrant personality was needed for the plot. Caring adults came on the scene later. But it was a page turner of an adventure, an evocative journey that satisfied one’s sense of “right,” and it left me eager to find out what happens to Tim in Book 2.

Disclosure: I first knew Areyan as an IT Professional, co-founder of Fast PC Support. For biographical insight, here is an interview with Areyan that tells about his focus of meditation and his second avocation, art — oil painting and photography.  Here is the ebook listing on Amazon.  I recommend it.

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