4 out of 4 stars
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Final Notice by Van Fleisher is one of the most thought-provoking novels I have ever read. The story delves into some of the most important issues facing American culture today, including the treatment of the elderly in society, end of life decisions, and gun violence. Regardless of your current opinions, be prepared to be challenged as you see a number of today’s controversies from various perspectives.
Final Notice is set in the not so distant future when a new “sports watch” is in its testing phases. This device goes far beyond any current fitness tracker’s capabilities and can monitor the wearer’s health with such accuracy that it can predict natural death up to 30 days in advance, giving the wearer a “Final Notice” that their time is almost up. At the same time, the NRA begins a senior discount program which aims to arm as many seniors as possible. Playing to the vulnerability and powerlessness experienced by many seniors, the ad campaign quickly leads to increases in gun sales. The main characters, a retired couple, show how even long-held opinions can be influenced and changed through life experience and outside pressures.
I loved how the themes of impending mortality and gun violence intertwined throughout the plot. The author introduced us to a number of characters of different ages and backgrounds, all of whom are affected by one or both of these themes. The author shows a deep understanding of human nature as he tells the stories of a number of people who receive a “Final Notice” and the decisions they make as a result. I greatly appreciated the raw honesty expressed in the characters who chose revenge when they knew their time was up. Although it was terribly disturbing to read these scenes, they are incredibly plausible based on what I know for myself of human nature.
The only thing I found disappointing in this book was the absence of any mention of God. As a Christian, looking at issues of death, gun violence and human nature from a completely secular perspective feels empty as there is no moral foundation from which to make sense of the issues. From my personal perspective, the book concluded without providing a very plausible solution, though that may not have been the author’s intent. That said, I still felt this book was of great value because the characters are so true to life that I did not have any difficulty reading and learning from this book while applying my own worldview to the content.
I am rating this book 4 out of 4 because it is very well written, the editing is nearly flawless and I believe the issues covered in this story are important for everyone to carefully consider. I would recommend this book to anyone old enough to engage in a mature discussion about the end of life and gun violence. I would even call it a “must read” for voting citizens as we must all take responsibility to educate ourselves on these issues and carefully consider all sides as we look at possible new legislation.
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