3 out of 4 stars
Share This Review
Set in 1970, considered by many to be the golden age of terrorism, Anarchy by Jack B. Rochester revolves around Nathaniel "Nate" Flowers, who served in the United States Air Force in Germany but is now an author, his girlfriend, Jane Chandler, who has dreams of becoming an author, and Tim Rosencrantz, Nate's friend from his days in the air force. Tim joins a group of terrorists called "Weatherman." Weatherman was fighting against capitalism and oppressors of the poor, people of color, and the disadvantaged. They considered themselves to be "Anarchists." They hoped to get the government's attention using controlled explosions at different locations, including the explosion of the Haymarket Square Statue at 652 W. Randolph Street, Chicago. The novel further follows Tim as he attempts to convince Nate to become an anarchist, Nate's career as an author and his relationship with Jane, and the involvement of the FBI in trying to shut down "Weatherman."
I would classify Anarchy as a historical fiction novel. However, there are many other themes included in the novel, like love, self-discovery, friendship, and racism. The Vietnam War and police brutality were also discussed and portrayed. I liked the good job the author did on the plot; combining different themes expertly, creating realistic obstacles for the characters to overcome, and giving the story a very good structure without any plot holes. The interesting plot was what engaged me the most in this book, especially considering the slow pacing of the story. The pacing affected my reading quite a bit, as I took long breaks between chapters, but the story kept me coming back to find out what happened next.
However, the author's focus on the plot clearly affected character development. There wasn't much depth about any of the characters besides Tim. Most times, it felt like Jane didn't have a mind of her own, as she went along with whatever Nate said or did. The same thing was applicable to Tim's girlfriend, Crystal, who was all about sex and went along with what Tim said. Most of the characters also seemed to believe that the solution to every problem was to blow something up. The growth I saw in Tim's character throughout the story, from the events revolving around Tim discovering his purpose to his sexuality to his uniqueness, just wasn't evident in the other characters.
Furthermore, Jack's writing style wasn't as descriptive as I would have liked, which made it difficult for me to visualize the places and events he talked about most of the time. However, the author's description of the story seemed to improve remarkably when it came to the sex scenes, and I would have preferred that style of writing to have been maintained throughout the story. For a book involving terrorism and the FBI, one would expect that it would be full of action and suspense, but this was another area the book lacked in. There was suspense a few times in the story, especially towards the end of the story, but it wasn't as much as I would have liked.
Anarchy is well edited. I didn't find a single grammatical or typographical error throughout the book. It was also very well organized, containing dates at the beginning of each chapter that made understanding the story very easy. There were also a few thought-provoking discussions in the book, especially on dichotomy and how things can only exist when there is an opposite, violence being the only way to start a revolution, the consequences of terrorism, and more. These are parts of the book that will interest a lot of readers.
After much deliberation, I will settle for rating Anarchy 3 out of 4 stars. Poor character development certainly takes out one star. Other issues listed above made me consider taking out another star, but the book's editing, interesting storyline, and engaging themes convinced me otherwise. I would recommend this book to lovers of historical fiction. There is also something in the book for people that are into erotic romance novels. However, this book is not suitable for a younger audience.
View: on Bookshelves
Like prospero360's review? Post a comment saying so!