Joshua S. Friedman
on Oct. 17, 2013 :
I like this book.
The text contained odd spacing between paragraphs, probably due to improper formatting with the "show/hide" feature, which caused hiccups when converting through Smashwords' meet-grinder.
My biggest critique is with the author's research. Clearly, the surfing and Australian lingo was studied, or the author just wrote about what they knew.
However, (and I realize this is supposed to be satirical), the author didn't do much research into America, despite that a good chunk of the novel takes place there. Not all Americans smoke pot, and the ones that do, certainly don't do it on the street. This isn't Amsterdam. Not everyone in this country is a gun-touting-sex-crazed-self-industrialist telling every single person they meet to go "F" themselves. Once again, I understand this is a satire, but come on. The original White House didn't burn down in D.C, it was Pennsylvania; Philly if I'm not mistaken. Even in small towns, cops don't just look the other way at illegal drug-trafficking and distribution. The cops certainly wouldn't just casually stroll up to a barn and buy weed. That sounded like a major operation, one that effected the entire community. That's when the DEA get involved. Another thing, I understand how the barn exploded, but not Principal Givens car. It was outside the barn and the bumper just fell off. I was under the impression Kenny, Brian , and Neil were minors (under the age of 18). So they couldn't have been arrested, posted bail, and made to do community service for an accident like that. Juvenile vandalism and destruction to private property, at best. They'd receive a slap on the wrist, probation, and a hefty fine, but no jail time. The cops would have brought the boys back to the school, and then released them into the custody of their parents. Instead, one of them smokes a joint in the back of a police cruiser. First of all, isn't he handcuffed? Secondly, cops in America frisk someone before arresting them and certainly before placing them in their car.
The author jumped in and out of view points of characters, and lacked any clear protagonist. We begin bounding back and forth between Dr. Surning and the three boys, with the occasional sprinkle of Humvat. The second act bounces between Humvat, the boys, and slight smatterings of Dr. Surning. The third act is nearly all Humvat, and Dr. Heather Surning, who is literally the opening character, recedes from the story all together except for this paper she's writing. Then she gets on a plane and we never hear from her again. She had no role in the plot. She would have been better served as a flash-back of one or all three of the boys.
I understand the writer is from the UK, but if we're to believe the story actually takes place in the US then people can't say things like, "telephoned," "lift," or "whilst." Americans just don't use those phrasings. And all the same characters spoke the same way with words like "reckon" and (once again), "whilst." Not everyone gulps "erm". Some utter "um" or "uh". Also, you have to use American spelling: realized not realised. honored not honoured, etc.
And here's the big thing, there's no way a show that uses language such as Larry O unabashedly wields about, would ever become a hit show on a nation-wide-affiliated public broadcasting network. American television programs are fastidiously regulated by the FCC.
Once again, I realize this is a satire, but many of the key plot points were just down-right unbelievable.
And who were those people at the end? What did that have to do with anything? I (your reader) wanted to know what happened to Humvat upon his return home. Isn't this a comedy? It's supposed to end "happily ever-after", not "what happened to Humvat?"
However, all that being said, I really enjoyed this book. Cleverly written and at times I even laughed out-loud. Without the aforementioned "problems" this could have been a solid five stars.
I also enjoyed the mini-prologues at the beginning of each chapter. A daring move, one I'm not advocating. I'm just saying it worked in this particular novel.
Three out of five stars.
(review of free book)