1 out of 4 stars
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It never bodes well for a piece of work when a reviewer concludes that stars should be removed before ever leaving the first page. Unfortunately for George Mills, the pretentious work presented in A View Looking Forward as the Journey Continues has masterfully achieved this unprecedented feat. Between the archaic cover symbolism of a man getting a leg up, the blatant disregard for the work of an editor, the nonexistent transitions, and the condescending disrespect for readers, by the end, it was easy for me to rate this book one out of four stars.
A View Looking Forward as the Journey Continues was presented to our club as a work of fiction; however, after following the “storyline” (I use that word lightly), I wonder if it isn’t a convoluted attempt at a biographical retelling. There is quite little to the story. In the midst of a hurricane, a man is forced to wait for his ship to leave port. His lover has left him, and he seeks to start anew. The idea was interesting—Mills’ execution was mind-numbing. There was no character development, and the dialogue was painful. It took me many pages to discern who was who, and the relationships seemed forced and unrelatable. In the world he’s created, a young sailor (with no backstory) retorts with, “Whatever do you mean,” and a motorcycle shop owner uses lofty phrasing like, “We must seek shelter.”
I also found myself confused while trying to wrap my head around the setting: a desert land that butts up to an ocean. It's a place where people speak English but only the main character knows about Thanksgiving. It's a poor-to-moderately financed port settlement with an underground bunker city decorated with crown moldings of gold and inlaid with diamonds and rubies. Had there been a fantastic explanation for the above-mismatched ideas I would have rejoiced. Sadly, there were only haphazard sentences speckled throughout with no attempt at explanation.
My disorientation surrounding the characters and setting pales, however, to my disgust with Mills’ lack of consistency, followthrough, and editing. I liken his storytelling style to jazz scatting. His sentences jump from talking about his love in one phrase to speaking directly to her in the next. Furthermore, timelines are nonexistent throughout. At one point a character discusses having not seen a woman in thirty years; paragraphs later, it ’s forty. The book has a pretentious (non-spoiler) ending where Mills inserts a hopeful self-fulfilling prophecy that includes the main character being praised for his superior writing skills. With the book’s endless sentence fragments, faulty tense changes, misspellings, improper punctuation, and word repetition, let me be the first to say—this prophecy will never come true.
A final unsettling part of the work was Mills’ habit of turning from story to religious soliloquy at the end of each chapter (and sometimes for chapters at a time). He outlines the book as if it were written all in one setting and speaks directly to the audience saying “Goodnight” and “Goodmorning” when breaking and resuming his tale. He assumes his audience knows events and quotes from the King James version of the Bible. His bumbled attempts at joining the story with Christian teachings come off condescending and degrading. He demands all readers look at their actions in life and ask themselves if they are following the ways of “born again Christians.”
I perhaps suggest this book to the religious devout willing to overlook boring storyline and poor writing in an attempt to compare everyday events with lessons from the Bible. Beyond that, though, I don’t suggest anyone read this book. I, personally, found no redeeming qualities in the book. A very heavy-handed copy and content editor is necessary to elevate this book to any level of enjoyment or enlightenment. In the words of the author, “give (the) old brain a rest” and skip this one.
Looking forward as the Journey continues
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