CM Magazine, a resource for librarians, has just published its advance review of "Jacob Two-Two on the High Seas." The reviewer, Andrea Galbraith, writes: "Much of the originality of the story comes from the theme of treasure being in the eye of the beholder....a highly readable book...it would work well as a read aloud or for solo reading. Highly recommended."
There have also been a few postings on the Globe & Mail and the Quill & Quire websites questioning the decision of adding to the series in the first place. The general opinion of these posters is that Richler's name is being exploited and his work being taken advantage of or tampered with. Other responses disagree.
I'm not at all surprised that some people don't like the idea. When first approached, I had some of these same thoughts. I asked myself: would I want someone to write another "Kaspar Snit" book? I didn't come up with any easy answers but I did decide that it ought to be the Richler family's decision. They, after all, are the ones who knew Mordecai best. And Mordecai passed the rights on to them. (Perhaps it should be remembered that Mordecai himself was happy to "exploit" his own books, allowing them to be adapted for film, television, and theatre. Some of these adaptations are very good but others are quite poor. And who remembers the musical based on "Duddy Kravitz" that closed before reaching broadway?) For me, the question was whether I felt I could do justice to the characters and series. And whether I wanted to do it. I answered "Yes" to both.
Of course people have every right to disagree. I'm happy to read their opinions, especially when they are well expressed. The question might be an interesting one for students to think about along with the notion of how authors "own" their characters and creations. I would like to say, however, that those who write that Richler's own work has been "tampered" with are simply wrong. No one has altered a single word he wrote or changed any of his books. My own book is clearly marked: it is a new work, written by me.
And if you read it, I hope you enjoy it.