4 out of 4 stars
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Imagine feeling a vibration on your wristwatch and looking down, only to be notified that you have ten days left to live. This is the terrifying “final notice” that the characters of Van Fleisher’s book received by their doctors.
The book Final Notice, by Van Fleisher, begins with Vince and his wife Trudi Fuller in their home. They are both elderly, ordinary citizens. While watching TV, they see a shocking ad for guns that are on sale for seniors, and Vince is becoming convinced that a gun could help protect them both from being hurt and exploited. Meanwhile, we hear of several murders being committed around the country, no doubt due to the NRA’s push to sell guns to the elderly. Giving people the knowledge of the end of life, which seems to be connected with owning this watch, along with the availability of gun ownership to the elderly, becomes a topic the NRA, the FBI, the makers of the watch, and the press must confront head on, as they watch these mass murders being committed by the seemingly innocent elderly.
The author uses superb vocabulary to create excellent visuals, which made me feel emotionally invested in the main characters. I enjoyed getting to know the Fullers; in fact, I felt I could identify with all the author’s main characters. While many classic theorists have grappled about morality and how it can fit into literature, to pull it off is a very hard thing to accomplish, in my opinion, and the plot of this story is one you imagine could actually happen.
The most notable part of Van Fleisher's novel are the themes. This book not only challenges readers to personally consider, “What would you do if you knew you only had a week to live?”, but also what they would do with a gun should they have knowledge of that “final day”. The theme that there can be tragic consequences to putting more guns in people's hands is something I feel the author has demonstrated successfully in his narrative, especially in the denouement, where we see the culmination of events unfolded. Fleisher’s exceptional portrayal of human interaction, and the psychological struggles of minority groups such as the elderly and displaced, combined with an exciting plot made reading the book a pleasure. The Fullers as a couple and as a symbolic representative of the elderly population caught in the inner conflict related to gun ownership was done successfully, in my view.
On the other hand, some readers may Final Notice to be a bit overwhelming and serious. The themes are mature and the topics uncomfortable. I personally enjoyed the story and the issues it brought to light, and for this reason have rated this book 4 out of 4 stars.
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