Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Book Review: The Returned by Jason Mott

I just read a good book that they seem to be making into a TV movie or series. The book is called "The Returned" by Jason Mott and I was so surprised to look up and see the trailer on the TV as I was sitting reading this book! I had no idea they were making it into a movie/series so it was so weird to see it. It will air in March, 2014 on the ABC network under the title "Resurrection".

This book started slowly. Like the metronome on a piano, it ticked away, giving details slowly and building a story piece by piece. The really good news is that even though the story builds slowly, the reading is so easy, you don't mind so much. This story becomes worth all the reading in the end of the book. Here's how it went for me...

First half of the book - "I'll give it three stars, it's not that exciting. Really interesting idea but the execution isn't winning."
Up to 75% done - "Ok, getting a little better, maybe more than three stars but not even three and a half yet."
Now 85% done - "Hmmm, definitely a solid three and a half stars... how is this gonna END?"
Less than 10% to go - "Wow, definitely a four star book. I didn't think it would get there."
Done - "So worth reading, it made me think and in the end I'm so glad I pushed through and didn't give up!"

Jason Mott
It's very rare for me to push through when a book doesn't keep me interested. But strangely, I couldn't say the book didn't keep my interest, it just moved in a metronomic pace, giving information and telling the story in a way that was not unenjoyable. I know that doesn't sound like a ringingly good endorsement but I don't want to mislead you into thinking it's an into the night, can't put it down kind of book. What it is is a book that stays with you and makes you wonder, ponder, think and consider. The great news is that even though the first part is slower, it's SO easy to read that you don't really notice. Let me give you a synopsis of the general story and then I'll give my opinion about why I think it works that the book starts out slowly.

Harold and Lucille Hargrave's son died in 1966. They grieved but time helped smooth out the searing pain any parent who lost a child feels. Then, many years later, their son reappears, still eight years old and missing his mommy and daddy. It's happening all over the planet, loved ones who have previously passed away are returning. The author, Mr. Mott eloquently and with sparse, elegant words paints a picture of a small town dealing with "the returned" and a world dealing with the chaos these "miracles" bring. No one knows where the returned are coming from or whether it's a miracle or a curse. As communities come to the brink of collapse the author makes us deal with questions of life, death and everything in-between.

I believe that Jason Mott wrote The Returned in a slow metronomic rhythm to mimic life in general. There is always twenty four hours in a day and we each make our way through those hours in our own way. The author uses the pace of the book to show that we all have that same time constraint, what you do with it is your choice.

Oh, I shouldn't forget to tell you that Jason Mott has given several bonuses to the reader by writing three short story prequels (each is about thirty pages) that are free right now on Amazon. The three prequels can be downloaded onto a Kindle app and are named "The First", "The Choice", "The Sparrow". I liked Jason Mott's original book enough that I'm going to read these three extras this weekend! It's like finding an extra piece of candy when you thought you'd eaten it all. :o)

I highly recommend this book, it made me cry by the end of the story and also made me think throughout the telling of it.
Best,




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