Tuesday, November 21, 2017
Book Review: "Do You Realize?" by Kevin Kuhn
One day, on his train ride to work (the timing of which he has down to the second), the seat next to him is taken by a sloppy, jovial, headphones-wearing, bearded guy named Shiloh. But rather than exchange small talk, Shiloh asks George an interesting question"What is love?" What ensues is a fairly philosophical and scientific conversation, far more intriguing than a typical conversation you'd have on the train.
As strange as the conversation was, George hopes he sees Shiloh again. When he does, another philosophical and scientific conversation ensues, which leaves him wondering just what Shiloh is trying to tell him. And then one day, Shiloh asks him for a favor: would George be willing to beta-test an app he has developed for the soon-to-be-released Apple Watch? At first, George wonders whether this request is some sort of scam, but when Shiloh gives him the watch, he figures, what can he lose?
When George's family experiences a traumatic event, he discovers that Shiloh's app is actually a time-adjustment app, which allows George to travel back in time. But there are restrictions on this travelhe can't go back further than 25 years, and he can't do this more than 10 times in totaland he also learns that he's traveling to alternate versions of the past, so any changes he tries to make may have a ripple effect down the road, but it might not change what actually happened.
Shiloh and George's friendship deepens, and he tries to get George to realize how important it is not to take life for granted. And as his family is further tested, George must make a decision about whether the past is worth changing, or if life is worth living no matter what happens.
Do You Realize? was tremendously thought-provoking and intriguing. How many of us have wished we could have done one thing differently in our past, wondered about the ripple effect of one event or one action? George is definitely an everyman-type character; the challenges and frustrations he has are felt by so many on a daily basis. But as always, it is how we respond to adversity that characterizes us.
With great power comes great responsibility, and with Shiloh's app, he suddenly has the power to change things. But how do you know what to change? Do you risk altering the course of a tragedy at the risk of something else occurring? Do we focus too strongly on one crisis at the expense of allowing another to happen? These are the intriguing questions Kevin Kuhn raises in this book.
I found this story to be very engaging and compelling, and Kuhn did a great job getting me hooked almost instantaneously. He definitely tells a really enjoyable story. My one criticism of the bookand it's a minor oneis it's a little more science-y than I could handle, and Shiloh's explanations and diatribes tended to run a little long for me. It was a little more telling than showing, but it didn't affect my overall enjoyment of the book.
This type of book may not appeal to everyone, but don't be put off by the time-adjustment element. While it does add another dimension to the story, at the same time, the core of the book is more about dealing with the challenges that life throws at us, and how we need to pay attention to what's in front of us.
The author and Beaver's Pond Press provided me a complimentary copy of the book in exchange for an unbiased review. Thanks for making this available!