4 out of 4 stars
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In Always Losing Something, the author, Max Green, channels his experiences with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), a disease that has no known cure. The story revolves around a talented and "unlucky" main character named after the author, Max Green. His journey is one of ups and downs, as he achieved his dream of becoming a professional footballer in the English Premier League at a young age but suffered the loss of his leg to a bull after his first title win. He picked himself up and branched into investment banking but later suffered the loss of his arm in the 9/11 terrorist attack. Compounding issues years later would be the fact that he was diagnosed with ALS. With the odds of survival being nonexistent, will Max lay down and accept his fate?
The story is told from the third-person perspective, and while it is not arranged chronologically, I enjoyed how the author presented it, as I found myself engaged in gradually discovering different aspects of Max's story and piecing them together. The story commences from Max's life in 2030, and I have to applaud the author's creative imagination in including some fascinating technological advancements, like Max's robot-operated suit that controlled his movements. His interesting predictions of future events are also thought-provoking. Football fans, like myself, will find some of these predictions both hilarious and insightful.
The author adequately uses this story to shed light on what ALS entails, especially with the lack of innovation and investment in its cure and the rise in the number of patients, especially athletes, getting affected by it. I found these aspects of the book highly educational and appreciated the amount of work the author put into not just presenting the information but also seamlessly incorporating it into the story. For example, through the story, we are introduced to the gene mutations, like the C9orf72 mutation, associated with the disease, the use of the forced vital capacity (FVC) as a measure of ALS progression in respiration, and the numerous symptoms that ALS patients suffer from involving the loss of motor functions in varying parts of the body.
Furthermore, the book explores themes of not just hope and heartbreak but also friendship. This was another highlight of the story for me, as I reveled in the friendship Max shared with his personal trainer, Arv, and his longtime friends, Tim Thompson and Jay Castle. Unluckily, Tim and Jay would also come down with ALS, but this would strengthen their bond even more and highlight the importance of having true friends in your corner in difficult times.
Furthermore, Always Losing Something is a professionally well-edited book. I found just one punctuation error while reading. I also cannot point to any aspect of the book I do not like. The book took me through a range of emotions while I connected with and felt deeply for the main characters. It also educated me on a condition that urgently needs more investment from the pharmaceutical industry. Therefore, a maximum rating of four out of four stars is in order. Mature readers who enjoy speculative fiction will thoroughly enjoy this book.
Always losing something
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