by Robert Rea
What if you were to write a story about a nutty bird and an overbearing bear? Too far-fetched, you say? Better as a best-selling video game, you say? Okay, then how about a couple who journeys to America from the west African Republic of Cameroon , settles initially in Worcester, Massachusetts, relocates across country to Southern California, puts two sons into college, and fields yet another son who puts together a 4.0 eighth grade Grade Point Average while managing to write a 147 page book on top of that? Still too fantastic you say? Well, you know what they say about truth and fiction.
Michael Mboudjeka is a 14-year old 9th grader at Escondido Charter High School. As a typical young teen he enjoys playing video games and drawing. His favorite video game is Banjo Kazooie which involves a bird and a bear. While he devotes some leisure time to this game, what sets Michael apart from the average teenager is the number of books he consumes. “I’m a very good reader. I read about ten books every two weeks.” He was reading so many books that dads being dads, his dad, Innocent Mboudjeka, made a practical suggestion. “He suggested I write my own book instead of reading other people’s books. So I did.” His dad then helped him through the steps needed to self-publish.
What Michael wrote was a novel for young people entitled The Autumn Things Went Crazy. It is about a boy named Rico who lives with his best friend Sidney right here in Escondido. Rico is a shy, Christian boy who is in love with a girl named Olivia. Sidney tries to build up a romance between his best friend and Olivia, but there is a complication and a climax. Rico doesn’t think it is the right time for a romance with Olivia and Sidney turns out to be a soul-eating ghoul.
The Amazon.com customer reviews gives Michael’s novel a 5 out of 5. One reviewer said he couldn’t wait to read this book to his kids while another said the novel was “easy-to-read, full of imagination,” while adding It was “…cartoonish, funny, and entertaining.” It is offered on Amazon.com as both a Kindle book and a paperback.
Michael is enjoying the success of his book, but continues to make academics his primary focus. He describes himself as a hardworking student, but one who “knows how to have fun.” His favorite subjects are Biology and Algebra II. Math comes easily to him and he wants to be an engineer. Or maybe a doctor. Michael smiles widely and adds “But the good thing about having good grades is you can be just about anything you want.”
Also see this article that appeared in the Escondido Times Advocate:
High schooler publishes his first book
By DAVID ROSS