2 out of 4 stars
Share This Review
If you had 30 days to live, what would you do? Maybe you would spend them with family, trying to enjoy the time you had left. Maybe you would go skydiving, starting to cross a few things off your bucket list. Or maybe you would search for purpose in that last month, thinking about the impact you’ve made on the world and deciding to go out with a bang.
This is the premise of the book Final Notice by Van Fleisher. A company called Vitaltech develops a watch that will give users a “Final Notice” of their impending death in a month or less. However, the larger issue throughout the book is about guns. Vince and Trudi, a married elderly couple, go through the decision of whether or not a gun is necessary for their protection, being plagued in the news constantly with shootings and rises in gun ownership. VitalTech and the FBI have to deal with the consequences of the Final Notice in a world where access to guns is all too easy. Mass shootings, suicide, and killing for self-defense are all addressed in this book, as well as how the government and other organizations, namely the NRA, react to these things.
I should preface this by saying that I did enjoy the story. The plot kept me entertained and engaged throughout. I loved Vince and Trudi’s characters. They are down to earth, normal people that have problems we can relate to. They frequently wonder if they are doing enough to combat racism and lack of gun control, and feel helpless that they cannot do more. They disagree with the NRA’s policies, but still want to have a gun to defend themselves if necessary. The concept of ageism isn’t discussed as much as it should be today, and I applaud Final Notice for bringing light to this topic.
If you haven’t guessed already, Final Notice deals with a wide variety of issues, including immigration, sexism, ageism, gun control, healthcare, racism, and climate change. Most of the issues are handled well and lead to a greater sense of realism. If you’re looking for an objective view of these issues, though, this is not the book for you. The author is very clear about his beliefs through the story and very direct in his portrayal of them. I didn’t mind this, but it could turn off readers who disagree with his opinions or prefer more subtle descriptions.
One instance of these issues that I disliked was with the characters of Ahmed and Alma Khan. These characters are friends of Vince and Trudi’s who are immigrants. They invite Vince and Trudi to their house, where they discuss discrimination and guns. This is an important discussion, of course, but it felt out of place. It seemed like those two characters were there more to send the message that most immigrants are good people rather than to add to the plot. An example of where the author uses this message in the right way is with Qasim and Rasha. It’s hard to describe these characters without spoilers. Suffice it to say that they are also immigrants who become friends with Vince, Trudi, and the Khans, but they contribute greatly to the plot.
I was excited to read this book due to the subjects it talked about and the praise it was receiving, but, unfortunately, it didn’t quite live up to my expectations. I was able to learn a lot about guns and the need for gun control, but it quickly got repetitive. There were a lot of conversations, especially between the FBI and VitalTech, that could have been cut down on without taking anything from the story. Some of the information about the shootings was repeated to the point where it got tedious as well. The dialogue in these conversations seemed stiff and unrealistic at times. Some of Vince’s dialogue, for example, sounded more like a politician than an everyday person. It also had a lot of errors that I noticed, mostly punctuation based. Just a forewarning: if you’re easily upset by lack of Oxford commas, this is not the story for you. For these reasons, I have to give this book 2 out of 4 stars. I would give it 2.5 stars if I could because I did enjoy the story, but the problems I mentioned kept me from being fully engaged. Final Notice would be a good read for someone who wants a direct understanding of issues related to guns. While I didn’t love this book, I still respect the author for talking about and bringing light to these controversial topics.
View: on Bookshelves | on Amazon | on iTunes
Like maggi3's review? Post a comment saying so!