4 out of 4 stars
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I read Van Fleischer’s Final Notice. I loved it. I read it in 4 days.
In an America where violence is escalating and minorities feel in danger, senior citizens are now being targeted. A technology company is testing the prototype for a new device that aids in health testing and reporting, including Final Notice, which tells the wearer when death is imminent. Users begin to do things, good or bad, that they wouldn’t have done before they knew of their impending ends, and the book tells these stories. Politicians, scientists, law enforcement, and everyday citizens are faced with problems that did not exist before. The book relates the tale primarily from the point of view of Vince and Trudi, a retired couple who become caught up in the atmosphere of racism, violence, and gun enthusiasts. When their safety and that of their friends and family are threatened, they each take steps in new directions to defend those they love.
This book contains many current and meaningful themes: gun control, ageism, racism, political corruption, suicide, and technology. The problems of immigrants, legal and illegal, are portrayed by several characters. The real-world problem of the media only reporting bad news appeared, as well, seemingly organically, as the team only knew of the horrific crimes Final Notice caused, and not the many acts of good.
The thing I liked best about Final Notice is that it made me think long and hard about beliefs I hold. The story depicts characters who are not typical of the popular picture painted by politicians. There is a family with liberal politics who become involved with an NRA promotion, a Republican senator who takes a stand against his party, a reporter who respects what law enforcement is trying to do and works with them, and a wealthy technology guru who works with the FBI to ensure safety for people, even at the cost of profit. Points of view evolved throughout the book, and so mine did, too.
I can think of nothing I didn’t like about this book. The main characters were definitely of a liberal bent, but the author doesn’t make any claims that his views are anything different. I personally have struggled with gun control, as I am the daughter of a policeman and a gun owner, but also a public school teacher and a mother of school-aged children. This book didn’t make me angry or frustrated, but simply gave me more to think about. The ending seemed a little rushed and too conveniently happy, but I like happy endings, and liked the characters enough that I would not have wanted it any other way.
Final Notice is about a couple in love, current politics, the dangers of technology, and families of all kinds. Anyone who likes any of those kinds of stories would like this book. It is an easy read. I would recommend it to anyone, including teenagers and even more mature preteens. I give this book 4 out of 4 stars. Well done!
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