Title: A Truly Remarkable Thing by Hank Green
Publisher: Penguin USA [Dutton]
In a nutshell (Amazon):
In his much-anticipated debut novel, Hank Green—cocreator of Crash Course, Vlogbrothers, and SciShow—spins a sweeping, cinematic tale about a young woman who becomes an overnight celebrity before realizing she’s part of something bigger, and stranger, than anyone could have possibly imagined.
The Carls just appeared.
Roaming through New York City at three a.m., twenty-three-year-old April May stumbles across a giant sculpture. Delighted by its appearance and craftsmanship—like a ten-foot-tall Transformer wearing a suit of samurai armor—April and her friend, Andy, make a video with it, which Andy uploads to YouTube. The next day, April wakes up to a viral video and a new life. News quickly spreads that there are Carls in dozens of cities around the world—from Beijing to Buenos Aires—and April, as their first documentarian, finds herself at the center of an intense international media spotlight.
Seizing the opportunity to make her mark on the world, April now has to deal with the consequences her new particular brand of fame has on her relationships, her safety, and her own identity. And all eyes are on April to figure out not just what the Carls are, but what they want from us.
Compulsively entertaining and powerfully relevant, An Absolutely Remarkable Thinggrapples with big themes, including how the social internet is changing fame, rhetoric, and radicalization; how our culture deals with fear and uncertainty; and how vilification and adoration spring for the same dehumanization that follows a life in the public eye. The beginning of an exciting fiction career, An Absolutely Remarkable Thing is a bold and insightful novel of now.
I think I am going to be hated for this review.
So basically, some sort of menace-looking 10-foot alien sculpture, whom April named Carl, (picture the Transformers) had been scattered across 64 major cities. April was the first one who discovered one of the 64. Her discovery led to her fame, and eventually a series of chaos around the world ensued.
I am not a fan of the writing style, so the plot was definitely the book’s saving grace. It was a pretty fun plot-driven story overall. Generally, fast-paced, though I struggled with a few parts, especially when things Amy said got kind of repetitive.
I also appreciated the fact that Green explored the issues and influences of social media, and how internet fame and power can affect us and our relationships with others. For example, in a scene where April was trapped in a burning building, all she cared for was her viewership.
“Very me of me to assume that no one else had figured this out yet. But I had something no one else had, an audience. Bigger than the Super Bowl. Bigger than Neil Freaking Armstrong. The stream view count read more than seven hundred million viewers.”
Fame can really get into your head.
April was portrayed like a Manic Pixie Dream Girl, and she wasn’t happy that she happened to be THE Chosen One by the Carls to save humanity. This part, I just find, so….gosh, I really don’t want to use this word…’annoying’. Sorry. But I. Just. Can’t. She kept questioning along the lines of ‘Why me? Why does it have to be an ‘ordinary’ girl like me, who isn’t like anyone else. I don’t even have a Twitter account like all the others in the world. I don’t even watch TV. I am just a nobody, but I also want to be special and be the one who will be remembered forever.’
I really hated writing the above, but that was exactly how I felt as her character developed. And, as always, I want to be honest with my reviews.
There also weren’t any differentiation in the voices of the characters, especially among April and her sidekicks. They all sounded pretty much similar. And honestly, April’s voice as a female didn’t sound convincing enough. It felt a little ‘forced’. Green should’ve written using a male protagonist instead. Just my opinion.
And the ending (Andy’s speech, especially) felt all too ‘preachy’.
The story in its entirety, felt more like it was written for a video, or dare I say, movie, rather than a novel. It had song tracks, pretty good visuals and fast-paced conversations, and, like I had mentioned above, a great plot – all that you’d expect in a film. If not for the plot, I’d have rated it 2-stars.
That said, I think a younger audience, probably the [older] YA (?) and/or his fans will enjoy this.
Oh and apparently, there’s going to be a sequel, which I wasn’t aware of. Doubt I’ll be reading it. If I knew from the start this was going to be the start of a series, I wouldn’t have bothered. I am not really a big fan of series, unless it comes highly recommended and the series is complete.
I’d like to apologize for this harsh review. Please don’t hate or unfollow me LOL
Have you read this? What did you think of it? I know I’m one of the very few who didn’t really enjoy it as much as I should. If not, do you plan to read this?
Till then, HAPPY READING!