Author Explores the Subjectivity of Success in a Coming-of-Age Story

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The contrasted paths through life of a ‘special’ and an ‘ordinary’ young person

John Haworth, despite innate shyness, has floated upward in a comfortable home environment under the influence of much older sisters and their friends. After he begins a new school in the early fifties, the seven-year old is looking lost when a classmate, Martin Holford, decides to take him under his wing. And so begins a long friendship.

Ordinary rules of life apparently do not apply to the confident Martin except, perhaps, when he allows his mischievous humor excessive free reign against the self-important. While on separate coming-of-age journeys, Martin and John get on fine, despite John’s occasional resentment about Martin’s ability to bounce back after perpetrating ‘wrong notes’ against the wealthy, while John slaves away attempting to make new music sound modern. John, who has no desire to be an apathetic musician like his viola teacher, unfortunately lacks the talent, personality, and love of limelight to match his glamorous piano teacher or Katherine, the singer he accompanies on the piano. But eventually he comes to be an appreciated figure in the music world because of his association with Katherine and with an up-and-coming composer, Wesley Johnson.

”We have striking current examples, such as President Trump, of a prominent person who is forgiven for normally unacceptable behavior because he is ‘special’, says Clapham. “Less discussed is the role of numerous ‘ordinary’ individuals few have heard of who contribute to huge advances such as the internet – or of the associates who launch talented artists.”

A heartwarming tale, The Special and the Ordinary highlights a friendship between contrasting characters, each defining success on their own terms. For more information about the book and the author, please visit

“What makes The Special and the Ordinary worth reading is not that the story moves at a breakneck pace, or hosts an intriguing mystery or posits evil lurking in the dark. Instead it is the winning combination of intelligent context, intriguing characters, and the author’s eloquent writing style all of which thoughtfully presents the many elements of the human condition as they occur within the lives of the characters.”
--Pacific Book Review.

“The Special and the Ordinary”
By David Clapham
ISBN: 9781491775800 (hardcover), 9781491778487 (softcover), 9781491778494 (e-book)
Available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble and iUniverse

About the author
David Clapham grew up in Sheffield, England, and received a bachelor’s degree in Botany from the University of Oxford. After working for five years at the Welsh Plant Breeding Station at Aberystwyth, Wales, he moved to Uppsala in 1973 where he still lives today. He is an emeritus researcher at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences and a consultant for a forest company. David and his Swedish wife Lena have two children. The Special and the Ordinary is his second novel, after his earlier Odd Socks.

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Satara Williams
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