2 out of 4 stars
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Final Notice by Van Fleisher is primarily a story about a senior citizen man named Vince and his wife, Trudi. It's focus is gun control, but Fleisher addresses several current issues, such as climate change, in the process. Highly political, the novel takes the reader on a journey of "what ifs:" What if the NRA gave senior citizens discounts on guns? What if there was technology to tell you when you would die? What if you had a chance to change policies or save lives?
The story really begins one night when Vince takes his dog Miles for an evening walk. Unfortunately for them, however, it turns into a nightmare when an aggressive, unleashed dog attacks. Luckily, an Uber driver, Qasim, interferes as a good Samaritan. Miles is taken to the vet for his injuries while Vince is seen at a very busy emergency room. Both seem to be recovering, and a genuine friendship blossoms among Vince, Qasim, Trudi, and Qasim's wife, Rasha. Still upset, though, Vince and Trudi begin making plans to own a gun for self-defense. Meanwhile, a progressive company called VitalTech is rolling out their alpha test of the VT2 health watch, which is able to predict the death of the owner by sending him or her a "Final Notice." Not long after the alpha test begins, the "Final Notice" message is linked to murder and suicide. Thus begins the "meat and potatoes" of the author's gun control message.
Probably the best aspect about this book is it tries to look at a variety of circumstances regarding gun control, from self-defense to school shootings to outright murder. It's important that more literature is written regarding the "tough topics" (and that people read them).
Writing about gun control in a novel, however, is quite a challenge for Fleisher. It was obvious that the author was bursting with political thoughts and opinions and could not stay focused on a single topic. This made the story full of characters and his or her respective story. Fleisher even snuck in political platforms where it wasn't necessary, specifically when it came to adding storylines about politicians. On top of this confusing approach, Fleisher keeps coming back to the VitalTech rollout of their VT2 watch and it's influence on gun violence.
I rated this book a 2 out of 4 stars. While reading, I kept going back and forth between 2 and 3 stars because the writing was pleasant, and it stayed interesting for the most part, but because of the plethora of characters, storylines, and political messages, I got tired of reading. I also, and most importantly, did not like the ending. Obviously, I won't give any spoilers, however it felt like the author didn't know what he was doing with the story at the end. I imagine that if Fleisher was allowed to, he would just keep adding to the novel. In fact, I could see this book as a fabulous start to a TV show.
While this book didn't meet my expectations, I imagine many will find it enjoyable, especially those interested in political reform. Overall, I appreciate the time and energy I put into Final Notice.
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