Monday, January 2, 2017

All Our Wrong Todays

Title:  All Our Wrong Todays
Author:  Elan Mastai
Publication Information:  Dutton. 2017. 384 pages.
ISBN:  1101985135 / 978-1101985137

Book Source:  I received this book through NetGalley and the Penguin First to Read program free of cost in exchange for an honest review.

Opening Sentence:  "So, the thing is, I come from the world we were supposed to have."

Favorite Quote:  "I remember, as a kid, when I first understood that only half of every tree is visible, that the roots in the soil are equal to the branches in the sky, that a whole other half is underground. It took me a lot longer, well into adulthood, to realize people are like that too."

What if you lived in a "perfect" world? Clean energy. No crime. No poverty. No hunger. No conflict. Your every need and desire anticipated. What if you were still unhappy? That is Tom Barren. His world in 2016 is near perfect thanks to the the 1965 invention of the Goettreider engine, a machine that provides an endless supply of clean energy.

Even in this supposedly perfect world, Tom Barren's problem is a classic one. He feels like a failure, particularly in comparison to and in the eyes of his genius father. His father is working on making commercial time travel possible. Tom is meandering from thing to thing with little purpose. Perhaps, perfection is not so perfect. After all, how perfect could a world be where "actual books, the paper-and-ink kind that nobody made, let alone wrote anymore"?

As you may suspect, things happen. Cataclysmic things happen, and they turn Tom's life into something he never expects. It's difficult to say without spoilers, but let's just say that Tom's life becomes a journey through time, through the world, and inwards into himself.

This book is the main character - Tom Barren. All the other characters are less developed and in a supporting role. Tom's voice though shines bright and clear throughout the book. Therein lies the appeal of the book. Tom's choices are not always likable. At many times, I want to tell him to grow up, to stop whining, and to consider the people around him. So many of his issues seem to be of his own creation. Yet, through it all, I find myself liking him, cheering for everything to work out for him, and wanting to know where his story goes.

His story certainly goes in a lot of different directions. Be warned, the book starts of really slow to the point that I begin to question if it is going anywhere at all. It's like the first slow hill of a roller coaster in the dark. You know the drop should be coming, but you can't see the hill or what lies beyond. However, then the first crest is reached, and the book is off on a wild ride. As soon as I think I know where the story is going, it takes a complete turn in a different direction. This happens over and over all the way up to the end.

On the surface, this book is a roller coaster ride of science fantasy. Be warned, there are some graphic descriptions and some lewd humor. That's not really my thing. Fortunately, in this book, the story is more predominant, and I look past the pieces that are not for me. Just suspend disbelief and go along for the fun ride.

Below the surface of this book lies another level. This book is about defining yourself and living with all the different needs and wants that battle within one person. "Your belief system is how you actually spend your time every day ... If you believe in a bunch of stuff but never act on those beliefs, they don't matter." It is about learning to believe in yourself and learning to set your own priorities. "This is how you discover who someone is. Not the success. Not the result. The struggle." It is about relationships and friendships - parent and child, old friends, new friends, and lovers. "That's what love can do for you, if you let it - build a person out of all your broken pieces." It is about learning to deal with changes that life throws at you. "Is it possible to think outside the box of your ideology? Or is ideology the box and you just have to work at opening it?" That's the philosophy in the book if you should choose to pursue it.

Either way, this debut is an entertaining page-turner that leaves me with a lot to think about.

Please share your thoughts and leave a comment. I would love to "talk" to you.

No comments:

Post a Comment