An Avondale lecturer’s third and final book in a series telling the story of a boy and the challenge of adolescence launched this weekend.
Dr Brad Watson first introduced readers to David Matthews in Finding David, a schoolyard story dealing with bullying, romance and a mysterious family tragedy. The David’s Revenge sequel tackled rescue, relationships and revenge in an action-packed adventure. Now David’s Triumph completes the series with a story of shattered hope, love, loss and finding the strength to carry on.
“David’s Triumph resolves some of the issues and questions that have existed throughout the series,” says Signs Publishing book editor Nathan Brown, who launched the book with Dr Watson at the Seventh-day Adventist Church in southern Queensland’s annual camp meeting on September 23. “Some readers will be looking to complete the series, but as it’s now nine years since the first book, we hope a new generation of readers get to know David and his friends.”
David ages by a year in each book. As he grows, so do the issues confronting him. Will he give up on his best friend? Will he betray his girlfriend? Will he give his life to God when God is allowing someone he loves to die?
The questions might be familiar, particularly if you are a teacher of a young adult—momentum has been building, particularly among Seventh-day Adventist schools in Australia, for investment in the wellbeing of students. So, Dr Watson believes the timing of the launch means David’s Triumph could again be included—the church in Australia funded a chapter-by-chapter teacher resource for Finding David—as a wellbeing resource. “More and more research is telling us young adults are becoming lonely and suffering from epidemic levels of depression and mental illness,” he says. “Their relationships are breaking down and they lack community. Many struggle with feelings of isolation and anxiety. Social media seems to be part of the problem.”
Sports such as surfing, mountain biking and triathlon are key parts of the David stories. “I’ve tried and liked all of them, even though I’m not good at any of them,” says Dr Watson, senior lecturer in International Poverty and Development Studies at Avondale College of Higher Education. “They’re metaphors for life. We all have races to run. The point is finishing well and learning that the outcome is less important than our attitude.”
A strong look-out-for-your-mates message is not only core to the series but also to one of the stories in David’s Triumph, which comes from Dr Watson’s own life experience. “I fell into a ‘hole’ while canyoning with friends in the Blue Mountains,” he says. “Somehow, I became pinned between the wall and a boulder. If I’d fallen further, I could easily have died on the rocks below. It was that close. I broke my shoulder, so it took several hours to get out of the canyon and back to the car, with a lot of help from mates. It made a big impact on me and I decided to include that story in the book.”
Dr Watson would become a mentoring advocate, running a RiskMEN group while teaching at high school. “Real men lead by living with resilience, integrity, self-control and knowledge of their strengths and weaknesses,” he says.
Finding David, David’s Revenge and David’s Triumph are available from Seventh-day Adventist bookstores in Australia and New Zealand.
Gemma Kellahan is a Bachelor of Arts students majoring in communication at Avondale College of Higher Education. Nathan Brown is book editor at Signs Publishing.