I don't normally put book reviews on my blog. Not sure why... It would be easy to transfer them from Goodreads, I suppose, but I wanted to do one of this book because 1) the author is my neighbor 2) I want to help him promote the book because I think it's awesome that he wrote and published a novel on the side, just to fulfill a dream, and not because he thinks he'll make any money off it and 3) he's giving it away for free as an ebook on Amazon this week only, from Tuesday, April 1st - Thursday April 3rd. What do you have to lose?
The Newman Resident, by Charles Swift, is a really quick read, and a thriller. I don't normally read thrillers, but I couldn't put it down! (I guess that's the point :D) I liked how short the chapters were- it made it feel like you were making lots of progress quickly, and it's especially great for a mom with kids at home who are constantly interrupted... it only took a minute or so to get to the end of the chapter if I needed to stop reading when one of my kids needed something. (I hate stopping in the middle of a chapter. It's dumb, I know...)
Here's an excerpt from the summary on amazon, to give you a feel for what kind of book it is:
It’s the near future and education has become big business. Dr. Newman is at the leading edge of creating the perfect educational environment for children, and all he requires is a hefty tuition—and your child at the age of six months.
Christopher Carson is one of the “Newman Residents” who live at the Newman Home year-round. His parents, Richard and Carol, both Manhattan attorneys, may disagree about the specifics, but each wants what’s best for their son. For Richard, this means bringing Christopher, now six years old, home for one last summer vacation before the visits become brief and infrequent.
What follows in The Newman Resident is a whirlwind battle between a devoted father and an education system more terrifyingly powerful than he ever could have imagined. It’s a battle that forces him to confront how some will cross any line in order to create the “perfect” child.
I liked that there was no date, but that it clearly felt like the near future - most of the technology was the same, but there were a few slight advances that seemed really realistic. It made you feel like this kind of world is where we could be heading, and within my lifetime.
It made me stop and think about education quite a bit, though I'm not sure if that was his intention.
As I said before, I couldn't put it down, and read it all in one day. The next day, I found myself thinking about it all day long.
I thought the characters felt very real, and I liked getting glimpses of the relationship development between the protagonist and his wife.
My book club read this book a couple of months ago, and since we know the author, we invited him along to ask him questions about it. It was fun to hear how he put himself and others he knew in little bits and pieces throughout the book (for example, he went to Columbia Law, like Richard and Carol, so all the places he talks about in Manhattan are places he used to frequent.) and to hear about how the novel developed. He said his original manuscript was much, much longer, and he cut out quite a bit to keep it moving and engaging. It really worked!
I don't want to give any spoilers, so hurry and get the ebook while it's free! (even if you don't get there in time, it's only $3.99 regularly...) Be sure to leave a comment on Amazon to help his book get out there! It only takes a minute!
I think it's so awesome when people have dreams and make them happen :)
PS if you have an account on Goodreads, why don't you "friend me" (or whatever they call it over there...) so I can see what you're reading? I'm always looking for another book recommendation...
PSS this is not an April Fools' Day post! I feel really bad for the one I put up last year, because months later, people posted things like, "this is awesome! I can't wait to try it!" and I felt very guilty... I forgot that what goes on the internet, stays on the internet, and people could find it when it's not April Fools' and take it seriously! I must admit, I briefly considered doing a post about "homemade Doritos" using food storage powdered cheese this year :D