Gerald Camden is a student of mediocre ability until he makes an unexpected recovery from a debilitating water skiing accident. Stripped of his memory, Gerald was suddenly the smart guy on campus. Everyone marveled at his new-found abilities.
Gerald is rejected by his mother who maintains that he is not her son. Gerald becomes enamored with Lori, the honor student, and builds a relationship with her, but feels out of place among her intellectual friends..
Eddy is a local delinquent, who has failed his senior year three times. He innately despises Gerald for his intellect but was intrigued by the change that had come about in him. He discovers that Gerald had been revived from brain death by Dr. Gauge, a noted genetic scientist.
This is the story of an amnesia victim who struggles to survive, falls in love, and rebuilds his life in small town America.
The book can be labelled as sci-fi, but I use that term liberally. It’s more akin to fiction with science woven into it (OK, I know I just called it sci-fi in reverse!).
The blurb does a good job in describing what the book is about. Gerald, the main character, suffered an accident. He was brain dead and the plug was about to be pulled on him before he miraculously came back to life, but he’s forgotten everything about his past life, and to make his life even more complicated, he learns that he was subject to an experiment, which has now given him some unique talents.
As storyline goes, it was different to the books I normally read. The start of the book was written well and kept me intrigued. I was eager to find what special talents Gerald would unearth.
The format of the book was quirky. Each chapter had a series of mini/sub chapters contained within them. And, before each mini chapter began, there contained a short paragraph written in first person, basically, foreshadowing what was to come. After the first few chapters in, it soon lost its charm with me. It was difficult, when after a few pages you hit another sub-section, to create a flow in the book whilst reading it. If I had to describe it, it would be the equivalent of driving a fast car down the road, all you want to do is slam on the gas and feel that onrushing gust of wind against your face, but after every 10 yards you hit a traffic light.
My one major gripe about the book is that I didn’t connect with any of the characters. I tried to, and the closest I came, was Gerald’s teacher, but then that flew out of the window, when her principals shifted so abruptly.
And, talking about characters, I have to mention the main one, Gerald. A great book in my eyes, is when you form a deep bond with the protagonist. You urge and cheer them on during the good times and you feel their pain and sadness during the bad. Well, I didn’t particularly like Gerald, so it was hard to cheer him on. I didn’t agree with most of the choices he made in the book. He seemed almost cocky and arrogant, which perhaps, is what the author intended, or it could just be my own perception.
Some other thoughts:
I enjoyed the dialogue in the book. It was natural and didn’t sound awkward to my mind whilst reading it.
The book contained some poignant life lessons that I think teenagers would easily identify with. Not knowing what direction in life to take, and how easy it is to feel isolated and alone, are just some of the troubles we faced (& still do).
It started out fine and Jim Patrick Guyer is certainly a talented author - who is clever with his choice of words - but I just couldn’t relate to the characters and as the story progressed, my tentative hook slowly unhinged.
The book, however, is certainly doing something right, with amount of positive reviews it has gathered; so like I always say, this is just my opinion, and shouldn't form the basis of whether or not you should but the book. These are my thoughts to help you form yours.
Out of 10:6 Stars
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