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Gil Marsh by A.C.E. Bauer
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Gil Marsh

by A.C.E. Bauer

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I really, really wanted to like this book. A modern retelling of the epic of Gigamesh? What a neat idea! I teach sixth grade social studies (ancient history to the Renaissance) and am always looking for ways to bring the older stories to life for my students. I hadn't run into any modern versions of this story yet, and was pretty excited. Initially the novel did have promise, but it never truly delivered on it.

For one thing, I never felt as if I really connected to the characters. I didn't find myself really caring all that much about either Gil or Enko or what was going to happen to them. For the most part I kept reading because at first hoped it would get better and later on I figured well, I've gotten this far, so I might as well soldier on...and then, bam! It was over. Can you say anticlimactic? It really didn't leave the reader with a sense of completion, and Gil definitely doesn't reach anything near the epiphany that the original character in the epic does.

Another aspect of the book that I wasn't crazy about was the style of writing. There were far too many short, choppy sentences within short, choppy chapters. One thing I did like, though, was the sprinkling of French Canadian throughout--that was pretty neat, and Gil's attempts to pronounce them (cleverly showing the reader how to say a lot of the phrases) was a nice touch. And how many books have characters enjoying poutine in them? Not nearly enough! (Yes, it does sound and look pretty gross. But oh my goodness, it is delicious! Its inclusion alone is almost worth two stars!)

In all, it was an okay read and one I have already mentioned to my classes. It definitely won't go in my "to be re-read" pile, though. ( )
  beckymmoe | Apr 3, 2013 |
I feel horrible about writing a review on a book I couldn't read all the way through (although I did get halfway and then skimmed the rest in hopes that it would get better). Gil Marsh sounds interesting. The cover looks interesting. The concept of basing it on the story of Gilgamesh is interesting. Gil Marsh is anything but. From page one I was bored. The writing was dry, events told to us as opposed to shown, and I felt like the author was striving for a high literary style and fell far short.

In addition to the extremely unnatural and forced writing, there was a complete lack of character building. Gil is good looking, athletic and smart. At least this is what the reader is told. I didn't see any evidence of this, apart from him being athletic. He doesn't get the hot girl, he's judgmental, conceited, rude, and once he makes his plans to go to Canada he is a complete idiot as evidenced by his utter lack of knowledge about there being homeless people living in one of the largest cities in Canada and his plans to camp in the city park. Gullible would be a better description, especially when he practically gives his money away to a con artist.

When Enko's character was first introduced I thought I was suddenly reading a paranormal gay romance. Gil is obsessed by Enko's body and his body hair right from the beginning and I wondered if Enko was going to turn into a werewolf. There's one scene when at Enko's house where Gil admires Enko's hairy half naked body. Gil repeatedly says that he loves Enko, and despite that fact that I'm pretty sure the story is supposed to be about this strong brotherly love I couldn't help but think that Bauer has never even spoken to a high school boy. If the story had been set two hundred years ago, I would have accepted it as a brotherly love, but in the modern world guys (straight or gay) just don't talk like that.

I can understand that she was trying to remain true to the story of Gilgamesh, but cultures and people change. Look at Beastly or even Red Riding Hood, both are modern retellings and manage to be successful because of the changes that were made. Gil Marsh had the potential to be a great adventure into self discovery and the true value of friendship. Instead it came out stale, stilted and lack luster. ( )
  AngelaFristoe | Jul 25, 2012 |
GoodReads Synopsis: Good looking, athletic, and smart, Gill Marsh is the most popular kid at Uruk High School, even though he is only a junior. When Enko, a new kid from Montreal, shows up, Gil is wary. Yet Enko is easy going and matches Gil's athletic prowess without being a threat. Soon, the two become inseparable friends, practicing, studying, and double-dating.

Then suddenly, to everyone's shock, Enko succombs to an aggressive cancer.

When Enko's parents take his body and return to Canada, Gil is unable to even say good bye. He is inconsolable. Determined to find Enko's grave, Gil sneaks away and heads north.

Closely based on the ancient story of Gilgamesh, the Sumerian King from 3000 BC, A. C. E. Bauer has carefully woven the classic elements of myth to follow Gil's quest and explore the grief and growth of a young man.

My Thoughts: This story read really fast. But the writing style felt more rough draft rather than a fully fleshed out final copy. There was very little description…which felt off. The characters were all flat and one dimensional, as did the story. I found it hard to finish. Gil would get so distracted from his original mission that the whole journey seemed totally pointless. The story had so much potential, but it was so “all over the place” all I wanted to do was finish it and forget it. ( )
  psteinke1122 | Mar 30, 2012 |
I admit that it has been a long while since I read Gilgamesh, and so I may not be the best expert on the matter. Yet I have to say that GIL MARSH more confused than enlightened. The author followed the original story in its sparity of details, and I think that is where this modern-day story lost me. Gil and Enko’s friendship seemed underdeveloped to warrant Gil’s impromptu Canadian trip, and then his trip – inevitably doomed from the start – did not make much sense to me. I did not believe that Gil got as much out of that trip that he had desired – and I definitely did not get as much out of GIL MARSH that I had hoped for a retelling. If there had been more elaboration on characters and story, I think there would have been a clearer sense of where GIL MARSH wanted to be. ( )
  theepicrat | Feb 4, 2012 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0375869336, Hardcover)

Good looking, athletic, and smart, Gill Marsh is the most popular kid at Uruk High School, even though he is only a junior. When Enko, a new kid from Montreal, shows up, Gil is wary. Yet Enko is easy going and matches Gil's athletic prowess without being a threat. Soon, the two become inseparable friends, practicing, studying, and double-dating.

Then suddenly, to everyone's shock, Enko succombs to an aggressive cancer.

When Enko's parents take his body and return to Canada, Gil is unable to even say good bye. He is inconsolable. Determined to find Enko's grave, Gil sneaks away and heads north.

Closely based on the ancient story of Gilgamesh, the Sumerian King from 3000 BC, A. C. E. Bauer has carefully woven the classic elements of myth to follow Gil's quest and explore the grief and growth of a young man.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:37:31 -0400)

High school track star Gil Marsh comes to terms with the loss of his close friend and teammate, Enko, and his own mortality while on a journey to find Enko's grave in this modern retelling of the ancient Sumerian tale of Gilgamesh.

» see all 2 descriptions

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