Review by Christieee -- Wonks by William Reese Hamilton

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Christieee
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Review by Christieee -- Wonks by William Reese Hamilton

Post by Christieee »

[Following is a volunteer review of "Wonks" by William Reese Hamilton.]
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3 out of 4 stars
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War changes people. It destroys lives and uproots routines. In Wonks, by William Reese Hamilton, we get to find out just how far the damage goes. The author draws inspiration from his own experience at Santo Tomas Internment Camp during World War II to write the story of young Johnny Oldfield and his adventures with his family and friends in the prison camp.

Johnny recounts his experience from the age of twelve when he and his mother are previously taken as prisoners to the Santo Tomas Camp in the Philippines. He progressed to introduce some people that he met and their different personalities, which made camp an exciting place, filled not only with tales of survival, but also stories of malice, backbiting, and even reconciliation. Johnny takes an almost comical style in narrating the horrors of the prison camp as he tells us what it is like being a teenager growing up in such circumstances and how difficult it can get. While on this awful ride, Johnny finds a brother in Polecat, and together, they have exhilarating adventures that make life brighter and more enjoyable. But with starvation, torture, and their friends getting either executed or taken to different camps, how long can they remain happy? While all these are taking place, Johnny’s father is nowhere to be found. Will he ever be found?

The author takes a light and almost comical tone in narrating horrific experiences of war and imprisonment, so, where I should have been sad and depressed, I was excited for the next adventure of Johnny and Polecat. The story is also narrated in the first-person narrative. This made it easy to understand Johnny’s thoughts, while, at the same time, laughing out loud to his hilarious innuendos. I especially liked that even when I could see the terrible things happening, there were still many things to laugh and be happy about. Several places in the Philippines were mentioned, and this was an educating experience for me because I did not previously know them. The author also shows a strong family bond and how important it is for the family to remain together through even “the worst hell.” Something that stuck with me was the insinuation that we find our most authentic self in the harshest conditions.

While the latter part of this text was commendably engaging and exhilarating, the beginning dragged on for too long, including unnecessary conversations and recounted stories by other characters. Running on the first chapter alone, I felt this book deserved a one-star rating. However, this perception changed later on. Another thing I disliked was the author’s writing style. He employed an overly informal writing style, with the use of too many short forms that I found challenging to keep up with, and even though I eventually got used to it, I would have preferred a more straightforward and more understandable writing style from the get-go. Also, the story contained too many characters that it was confusing to remember everyone. Because of this quality of the text, I felt that there wasn’t much room for proper character development for most of the characters.

While I thoroughly enjoyed the latter part of this piece, owing to my complaints, I have decided to rate it 3 out of 4 stars. The book seemed professionally edited since I only found an error. However, if the author can improve his writing style and remove the unnecessary bits, I think this book will be 4-star material. This piece contains profanity and derogatory terms, so it will not appeal to sensitive people. It contains minimal kissing scenes. I recommend this book to adults who are interested in war stories.

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JKO
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Post by JKO »

With starvation, torture, and their friends getting either executed or taken to different camps, how long can Johnny and Polecat remain happy? This is an interesting question that is sure to pique the interest of readers. Thanks for this brilliant review.

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Post by kandscreeley »

It takes a talented author to find the balance between humor or lightness and serious subjects like war. It sounds like the author has done a fairly good job. War is something that we need to remember. Thanks.
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Post by Howlan »

The psychological horror of warfare is enough to drastically change a person. Thanks for the great review!

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Post by Usma Khann »

Looks like the author has poured his soul and experience in composing this book. Appreciate the insightful review.🌸
Readers know it. Authors know it. Publishers know it. A promising review sells books! :roll:

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Post by BookBoyP »

War is never a good thing. It'll be interesting to witness things from the eyes of the author.

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Post by Slater678 »

It will be nice reading about the author's war experience and how it changed him. Thanks for the insightful review.

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Post by Prisallen »

I'm glad the author was able to weave events into the novel that kept it from being too depressing. It sounds like a very interesting book. Thanks for your well-written and informative review!

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Post by LinaJan »

Hhmmm... Judging by the review, I like the plot. But I do not know how I could deal with the writing style that you describe as I am a bit of a geek when it comes to 'smart' language. I shall add this to my shelf, you never know :)

Thank you for such a thorough and frank review! :)

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Post by Christieee »

kandscreeley wrote:
29 Jun 2020, 18:54
It takes a talented author to find the balance between humor or lightness and serious subjects like war. It sounds like the author has done a fairly good job. War is something that we need to remember. Thanks.
Indeed it does. The author took on a brave task and came out victorious indeed.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

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Christieee
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Post by Christieee »

Howlan wrote:
29 Jun 2020, 21:28
The psychological horror of warfare is enough to drastically change a person. Thanks for the great review!
Yes, war is always disastrous.

Thanks for stopping by.

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Christieee
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Post by Christieee »

LinaJan wrote:
30 Jun 2020, 11:54
Hhmmm... Judging by the review, I like the plot. But I do not know how I could deal with the writing style that you describe as I am a bit of a geek when it comes to 'smart' language. I shall add this to my shelf, you never know :)

Thank you for such a thorough and frank review! :)
Haha! I understand your sentiment since I too can be a bit of a geek in the same matter. But you may be able to get used to it.

Thank you for stopping by.

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Post by espo »

War does change and uproot people's lives. I am glad the author centered the book around these experiences. You wrote a very insightful, well written, and informative review - great job!
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Post by AmyMarie2171 »

This was a very professional review! Your first paragraph in particular really drew me in. Excellent job!

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Post by kdstrack »

It is amazing how, even under these harsh conditions, a closed society takes on its own personality. I admire the author's ability to inject humor into this story. This book seems to present a unique perspective about war and internment camps. I enjoyed your review!

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