It will be very difficult to write this review without spoilers. However, I will try my best. I thought The Book of M was a science fiction book, however I would consider it fantasy instead. There is so much unbelievable in the story that I would believe in vampires before I would believe in the plot of The Book is M.
The premis of the novel is that people suddenly started loosing their shadows. Without shadows people could not remember. It turns out that memories are stored in our shadows and not in our brain. Without memories people started to drift away and humanity became its worse version of itself, except for the few who did not. After about a year most people were gone, either dead or shadowless.
The writing was excellent. It was engaging with strong identifiable characters. The plot was well thought out and, for the most part, flowed well. I was hooked from the start of the book. Everything about this book screams masterpiece, except the concept. The idea that memories are connected to shadow, that without shadows people can do magic, and that our shadows is the essence of ourself is hard to swallow. It goes against basic science. A shadow is where an object blocks light. No explanation was ever given for why or even how it started. It did not allow me to suspend my belief of reality.
The novel became more fantastical as the story progressed. I wanted to enjoy it all. The book was perfect on so many levels. It was just too much. The ending was a complex look at human nature. While it was not the mysterious twist that it tried to be, it was very character oriented. I enjoyed seeing how the characters reacted to the various situations. Except the event itself was hard to swallow.
The Book of M is one of those books that is amazing, but not for everyone. I am glad that I read it, but at the same time cannot help rewriting the story in my head so that all belief in science does not have to be suspended.
In order for genre writing to be great it does not have to have all of the qualities which make a book literature rather than a novel. For example, Twilight can still be enjoyed by English majors dispute the fact that it is so poorly written.
For a novel to be both a great piece of literature and genre fiction is rare. According to my Junior High English teacher even Isaac Asimov did not make that jump, although Ray Bradbury did.
My point being, this book is an amazing piece of literature. It has great prose, an engaging storyline, and characters worth reading about. It is also an amazing genre fiction. The plot and world are unlike anything else out on the market. This could easily become one of my top ten favorite novels and should make it to the must-read list of every list made after it's date of release.
When I think of food allergies I immediately think of gluten and dairy. I will then go to analyze the sulfate level in various foods - since I have an allergy to sulfate as well. I was excited to pick up this book, because I wanted to understand how consuming even a little bit of gluten will affect my intolerant daughter.
Except that is not what this book is about - at all. This book is mainly about allergies that can cause a child to go into anaphylaxis shock. It talks a lot about peanut allergies and tree nut allergies. It does also mention diary allergies.
The book is divided into sections. In the first section, you receive stories from various areas of their lifespan - starting at infancy and ending to adulthood. The stories are helpful for individuals to empathize with - an I am not alone kind of thing. They do not provide a wealth of information. You do receive some more information in the second section, which is where medical providers, educators, and community members write about their expertise.
Overall the book does not provide a whole lot of information on allergies. It is more along the theme of you are not alone, and people do successfully manage their allergy. The biggest problem that I had from the book (besides from a very generic title) is that everyone in the book is a sample of convenience. By this I mean that they were all connected to the same support group - possibly even all members of just one meeting location. This only provides a limited perspective. Even the medical professionals and community members were all connected to the same support group. Both educators for from the same PRIVATE school. Even though one teacher is in preschool and one in early education you do not get a very different perspective since they are both from the same school.
The best thing about this book is that it got me thinking about the effect of my daughter's lunch box on children at her school. Yet at the same time, it frustrated me. The parents in the book were not very sympathetic to children who only eat peanut butter. It was a your kid can starve because my kid is allergic. Since my child WILL STARVE herself rather than eat a non-preferred food I was not very happy with this attitude. However, I have talked with my daughter about how to make sure that she does not contaminate her friends with a peanut allergy. For example, she should always wash her hands after she eats. Also, she should never share food with her friends with a nut allergy since we often bake with almond flour and they could be allergic. These are also rules that I reinforce to help her manage her own allergies.
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