3 out of 4 stars
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Nothing like being introduced to a world where the main character, Adam, wishes he could escape. A place full of zany, nonsensical characters and foolish rules about egg breaking that can result in being skewered if caught. While Adam may want to run for the hills, readers will have the urge to be temporary residents in Michel Bruneau's book, My Author is Dead, while there are still pages to read so we can see whether or not Adam will make it in this authoritative world.
Our teenage protagonist, Adam, is resigned to live his life in his Cimmerian County village in doom and gloom. His people of Authorians believe that everything has purpose and that everyone must live the way The Author would want them to live. The Author is a Higher Power of the village believed to create all and control all. Adam’s fascination with words from the dictionary and reading does not sit well with his strict community as well as the star-crossed romance he indulges in with June. June is a Kafkaist whose people believe that life’s moments are inconsistent and unpredictable with no interference from The Author. When June’s little brother ends up in trouble, Adam must decide whether or not it is worth it to break the rules in the one place where one rebellious act can result in excruciating torture or death.
Bruneau brilliantly brings readers into a world that may seem like a work of fiction, but you will soon realize that this village is not so different from our world. It may seem confusing at first to understand what makes Authorians the norm and why Kafkaists are considered to be the lowest of the low since Adam never gives clear definitions of these social groups. Then again, it is as nonsensical as racism today in that there is no logical reason to hate a minority group who has not done anything personally wrong to you. Bruneau did a great job demonstrating in his satire how it can become too natural to hate a particular group that after awhile, you start to forget the reason why you hated them in the first place.
Another great aspect of this book is the character of Adam. He is very relatable in how he absolutely dreads the absurdity of the people he is surrounded by just like we do reading about them. I also like the humor of Adam's innocence and vulnerability such seeing Adam speaking his mind, only to find out later that it is all in his head. The character of the grandfather provides Adam with a great, no-nonsense mentor whenever he needs help and is a great ally to him as well. This story grabbed my attention from beginning to end with twists and turns at every angle. We want Adam to do the right thing but we also want him to be alive by the end of the novel as well.
One flaw that came from this story is the scene where the grandfather tells Adam a story of what happened to his friend as a result of writing a story which was a story within a story within a story. It was a big confusing chunk of text that may have been necessary for the plot but the format it was written in was too hard to comprehend. Another flaw was the way the female characters were written. Cassandra was your one-sided, unlikable, troublesome girl and June barely had any background to her character other than being a beautiful Kafkaist. This made it seem like Adam’s love for her was purely shallow if we never got to know her as a person. Even Adam’s mother was a hateful character. While I know we are not supposed to like the leaders that rule Cimmerian County, I was hoping the other characters that made an impact to the story would be more likable.
I rate My Author is Dead 3 out of 4 stars. It was a very entertaining book with an awkward but heroic main character to root for. You always wanted to know what Adam was going to do next and got scared for him that his plans would backfire. This was also a perfect allegory to how separating people into specific groups will not bring communities at peace but just cause more trouble and chaos. What stops My Author is Dead from getting a four star rating is that this book should have created more likable characters other than the main character, particularly with the female characters. Other than a few missing commas and quotation marks, the majority of this book had barely any grammatical errors. I recommend anyone who loves religious or political satires to give this book a chance as you will be invited into Adam’s adventure of righting the wrongs done by those in his community and whether or not he will be welcomed a hero by the end of the book.
My Author Is Dead
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