In today’s world, a climate dominated by technological advancements, it may be time to play spiritual “catch up.” Upgrades provide infinite options, but now more than ever people are finding one, single enhancement to be the most important they will ever implement, the elimination of fear from their lives.
Miguel, the central character in this mainstream novel for adults and young adults is unique, yet he shares a trait common to many children; a lifetime measured by days instead of years. Miguel happens to live with the skin-blistering disease Epidermolysis Bullosa, but he spends little time thinking about it. For Miguel, living with fear is far more deadly than this potentially fatal disease that encompasses his life.
Miguel happens to command an extraordinary ability to view life as few others do, with razor-sharp insights and an unwavering spiritual conviction that all things are possible to those who believe. The action in this novel revolves around Miguel’s many changes and transformations as he comes to realize that he was put on earth for a purpose, to teach others about the enormous power of belief and faith (in themselves)…just as ( Miguel believes) God intended.
Just Say Mikey is told solely through Miguel’s point of view, yet it is not a children’s (juvenile or middle-grade) book.
Opposing perspectives dominate the three main characters in this book. The protagonist, of course, is Miguel, a boy who is open to change, open to any new ways of keeping himself alive. Throughout the course of this story Miguel learns and applies these new ways taught to him by his Aunt Shirley (Kirkland), a woman who may be thought of as eccentric, revolutionary, and wise all at once. The antagonist is fear itself, personified in this story by Miguel’s mother, Shirley’s sister, Sharon Kirkland-Estes, a woman who loves her son dearly, but happens to be paralyzing him with her imposing fears and (dis)beliefs.
The geographical setting is comprised of three radically different environments within the San Francisco Bay Area, all in present-day. First is the luxurious, opulent, thirtieth-floor Nob Hill (San Francisco) apartment in which Miguel and his mother live. Second is Aunt Shirley’s serenely beautiful and sanctuary-like house in the Berkeley hills. Third is the hygienic and medicinal world of the Lucille Salter Packard Children’s Hospital at Stanford University (Palo Alto/Menlo Park). Many other Bay Area locales are significantly featured: Big Sur, Bodega Bay, Golden Gate Park, Marin County, and more.