I love discovering undiscovered stories. I was fortunate enough to be given a copy of J. C. Allen's Novel Ideas recently to review. I have to say, this novel was totally unique in its concept and delivery. And I absolutely loved it! I read the story in two sittings. (I would have finished it in one, but sleep intervened.)
The story takes place in the year 2040. The United States has become a socialistic government in which conformity is legislated and virtually every form of creativity is outlawed. The story opens with a news announcement that Forrest Reed, considered by many in the world to be the last truly original author, has just released his last book. Ever. Reed, an American Ex-patriot, has decided it's time to retire.
Reed lives his life in peaceful seclusion on a man-made island in the middle of the South Pacific. His only live human contact is with the people who bring him his supplies. And he's perfectly content to live like that. His self-imposed seclusion, however, is interrupted by a twelve-year-old girl who literally sails up to his island claiming to be his long-lost granddaughter. Or is she?
Novel Ideas is a story about political unrest in a world where compliance is mandated, virtual reality is preferred to actual human interaction, and originality is persecuted. It's a world where a twelve year old girl can be charged with treason for questioning authority. But the real heart of the story is bridging generational gaps and the power of love. The developing relationship Forrest has with his would-be granddaughter is well-developed and kept me on the edge of my seat. It's also a story about family, lost opportunities, and living without regret. There's even a scene on the pitfalls of under aged drinking that's handled with delicacy and a smidge of humor.
As an aside and completely off the subject of the story - this book made me hungry - literally. Allen's description of Forrest's cooking is to die for. If you can read this book without craving fresh home-cooked vegetables then you've never experienced really good home-cooking.
I highly recommend this book for anyone twelve and up.
That's me. Wife, mom, former teen, and writer.
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