because -- Jack A. Langedijk -- Submitted for consideration on August 4th, 2016
The author resides in: Canada
This book was awarded a FREE review based on merit.
Reviewed on November 10th, 2016
It was a natural thing to want to read and review this book; the frst pages were compelling, the perfect start to any good read—it drew me in, so there was no way I could avoid completing it.
The struggle and emotional battles implicit in loss of mobility and loss of ‘former life’ or self, are well-known to me from seeing someone close lose his mobility, and this author puts the sentiments across as expertly as anyone.
The book didn’t even come across as fiction; if someone had said this was factual, I’d have bought into it; so real were the situations and, most of all, the portrayal of shifting, agonised emotions as the bleakness of the situation is unveiled.
Characters, especially the protagonist Robert, are drawn with acuity and remain three-dimensional.
The relationships between Robert and his therapist Seema, also between Robert and his wife Monique, are so keenly drafted that they offer up more than a handful of edge-of-seat moments, and others where you’re going to claim the excuse you have dust in your eyes. The development of the psyche in the face of adversity makes for an interesting, enthralling and colourful ride as we see Robert not only come to terms with his ‘disability’ but rise above it and make it into a learning, positive experience.
All the key characters develop and grow closer to the reader’s heart, again as if this were factual. Intricacies of relationships, the way the past, present and the anticipated future are interwoven, seem artistic and every small nuance stunningly conveyed; the book made me think about how every small thing, every person, every interaction, has a bearing on who we become and who we allow ourselves to be in times of crisis.
The only problem we had with this book—seemingly echoing the feelings of some readers—is that the flow, natural pace, and insights do come to feel a little disjointed and lost towards the middle, where Robert’s learning journey now allows him to help teenagers with their own personal trials by taking them out on expeditions of their own.
It is a tribute to the immense skill of Langedijk that we feel so immersed in Robert’s own future, we find it too hard to let go of his story, even momentarily, to consider the teens’ own tales; we ache to get back to where we began, which was the total enthralling, engrossing development of Robert’s post-trauma evolution.
Time shifts can be confusing initially, but equally, once we understood them, they made perfect sense; this is a book to inspire deep thought, and the deft dance of relationships and what-ifs tells the story of how each character now relates to Robert and why his role in their life is as it is. From this perspective, there are parts that maybe need two reads before you will ‘get it’, but we wouldn’t alter it.
We find this a skilful, thoughtful and deeply moving novel, especially in its earlier chapters, and it’s an inspiration to anyone who knows someone in this situation, or whose physical life as they knew it has been unexpectedly curtailed.
There are, of course, many such stories of inspiration but what makes this different is its stunningly-constructed prose and the ability to create a reality in which we really believe, and which becomes more than ‘a novel’ and manages to make us consider our own value and belief system. One of the key questions this book brings to the fore, as uncomfortable—or even painful—as it may be, is: when does life become untenable and what gives our life its perception of value? This is something each of us must answer, and it’s not open to debate, as it’s so deeply personal and subjective. This book is a life lesson from which we will all extract our own, differing,narratives.
It’s presented almost flawlessly, too, with crisp and credible dialogue, many witty moments and excellent editing.
When we write reviews, we also consider what the Amazon readers thought, wherever reviews are available. This was the debut work from Langedijk and it’s clear from the many reader reviews that this work is inspirational on many levels, to most people; we know how very difficult that is to achieve, even for the most seasoned author, but Langedijk accomplishes this naturally and easily. We look forward to his next book.
Visual appeal: 4/5
Storyline (Content): 4/5
Editing and proofreading: 4.5/5
Final Score : 17 / 20
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