4 out of 4 stars
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Everyone should take the time to read Van Fleisher’s life-changing book, Final Notice, which could not be a more accurate depiction of current issues with which the United States is grappling daily. The book interweaves the lives of many relatable characters with various backgrounds and does not shy away from addressing the myriad of different perspectives in regards to guns, technology, healthcare, politicians, immigration, racism, the treatment of the elderly, climate change and much more. While some characters’ stories build throughout the book, we are only given a glimpse of others’ lives, though I found some of those glimpses to be the most moving of all.
Final Notice takes place a few years into the future with an American backdrop in which guns are more accessible than ever — and more popular amongst the elderly — and technology has gone farther than expected. VitalTech, a young company, has begun testing a new smart watch which, through advanced vital sign technology, can accurately predict a person’s death up to 30 days in advance. The knowledge of impending death causes people to react in many different ways, some using it to take revenge or political action without culpability and others using it to give back to the community and say goodbye to loved ones.
I rate this book 4 out of 4 stars, as I simply found no areas in which it lacks substance or is poorly written. On the contrary, the story starts at a robust pace that does not stop until the very end, leaving no time for impertinent information or irrelevant plot points. Each character, bit of dialogue and scene has an exact purpose and readers will not be disappointed with the twists and turns throughout the book nor its unpredictable ending.
Furthermore, Fleisher’s writing style captivates his readers as, along with the serious and difficult subjects he addresses, he is careful to inject bits of humor, touching details and loveable characters. His light tone helps take the edge off of such hard subjects while still ensuring that they are presented in an as truthful and open manner as possible. The entire book is precisely so moving because everything in it is traceable to events happening each day in real life, presenting readers with the good, the bad and the uncertain which define American life at present.
Final Notice expresses a lot of what is hard to consider and feel about today’s news, and as such, it is a story to not only read but with which to engage. Its themes will stay with you for a long time as you contemplate your place in the current state of affairs and face those subjects which we should not shy away from out of fear or hopelessness. This is a story to generate discussion and reflection, but above all, I feel it is a story that offers hope for a brighter American future.
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