4 out of 4 stars
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Since being legalized in most states, ex-depots (expiration depots) have gained popularity among those wanting to die with dignity. Through these devices, people suffering from a terminal illness, old age, etc., can decide when they've had enough. Still, there is a strong divide between those in favor of ex-depots and those against them.
Tom works at Kane's Expiration Depot; he is an EAD salesman who can charm even the most skeptical customers into purchasing a luxury expiration device. The job has proven to be quite profitable—often making him hundreds of dollars in commission. Things are going along swimmingly until a series of unfortunate events leave him enmeshed in a deep depression.
Expiration Depot by Mark Hasiuk is an expertly crafted fiction novel that will keep readers engaged. The controversial story takes place in Portland, Oregon, and is told from the third-person perspective. Readers follow Tom Mulvey on a journey of self-reflection as he processes the gravity of peddling these death devices—the alienation he feels from his family, guilt, and the rejection he feels from others.
The thing I loved most about the book was the detail put into developing the main character. Tom was a complex individual. On the one hand, he was a slick salesman who exuded confidence on the sales floor, but on the other hand, he seemed like a lost little boy when it came to his personal life. Between his strained relationship with his parents and his love life woes, it was clear that job success didn't bleed into the other facets of his life. Discovering Tom was like peeling back the layers of an onion. Little by little, I learned more about this person, and many things surprised me.
Another thing I loved about the novel was the inclusion of newspaper articles throughout the book. As a reader, this kept me up to speed with the current laws and controversies surrounding expiration depots. For example, one of the articles covered a messy court battle between two parents—one believed in using an EAD for their little girl who was terminally ill, and the other parent was vehemently opposed to any assisted death. It was interesting to read about a country that was so divided over this life-changing issue.
There was absolutely nothing to dislike about this book, and it exceeded my expectations. Expiration Depot was professionally edited, and the writing flowed seamlessly. I am delighted to give the novel a rating of four out of four stars because of its intriguing premise and the connection I felt to Tom's character.
I would recommend this book to readers who enjoy controversial topics about life and death. For those heavily influenced by technology, this book will appeal to your inner nerd with all the gadgets mentioned. I would discourage readers triggered by weighty topics such as suicide from reading Expiration Depot. Some of the conversations and end-of-life depictions are disturbing and could upset sensitive readers. There is some profanity throughout, but it is not exhaustive.
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