4 out of 4 stars
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How do past and present decisions affect our future? To what extent do the people we let into our lives influence us? Our acceptance of things seemingly out of the ordinary is a function of our exposure level and the information available to us. In The Friends of Allan Renner by Dave J. Andrae, we see how a middle-aged man is indirectly prepared for a life-changing encounter by the people in his life.
Allan Renner lives a quiet, solitary life, for the most part, spending time with only himself and his dog. As he nears 40 years, he only has a handful of people who play essential roles in his life. In this book, the author reveals these people to us, shows us how he met each of them, and shares how each affected his life and their role in molding his worldview and beliefs. We see his journey through life, learn about him, and learn his eccentricities, tendencies, strengths, faults, and outlook on life.
While reading this book, I felt like I was sailing through a quiet river at night. I found the storyline unique and exciting, and it gave me a "quiet thrill." It had a depth and meaning that appealed to me, and it made me think about some of the moral and ethical issues in our world. I also pondered on the effect of these issues in the grand scheme of things.
I admire the author's writing style; it showed creativity and intellect. He employed an understated wit and humor in his writing. The book had a warm, personable feel that put me at ease while reading it, even though it discussed some issues that might be controversial in certain circles, like extraterrestrial life and recreational drug use.
The author created scenes that were easy to visualize; it was made easier due to his attention to detail. Each scene was life-like, such that the whole book took on the feel of a person who was reminiscing on past experiences. About halfway through the book, I had to go back and check if I was reading fiction or a memoir.
Each character played an essential role in the book. When I started reading, I hoped the characters would be well developed. I was not disappointed in this regard, as each one was unique and real. It felt like they were people who existed. I could easily imagine meeting any of them in real life. This was my favorite aspect of the book.
The book appeared to be professionally edited; I found very few errors. However, there was a little confusion at first with the timelines because the book kept going from one time to another, and I struggled to keep track of the main character's age and circumstances in the first few chapters. The book also contained some culture-specific music, films, books, and brand names that would be unfamiliar to people from other locales. I reckoned they were minor issues and could be easily overlooked. Hence, they did not negatively affect the quality of my reading. Therefore I'd rate this book four out of four stars and recommend it to anybody who wants to read something different from mainstream fiction.
The Friends of Allan Renner
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