Today’s team review is from Terry, she blogs at http://terrytylerbookreviews.blogspot.co.uk/
Terry has been reading Do You Realize by Kevin Kuhn
Do You Realize by Kevin Kuhn
4 out of 5 stars
This is a most unusual and interesting novel, categorised on Amazon under ‘metaphysical and visionary’, and ‘time travel’.
George is your average American middle-aged husband and father, unstimulated by his job, with a marriage that’s lost its joy, and the usual teenage children angst. On his morning journeys to work he gets to know the curious Shiloh, who philosophises about life, the universe and everything, and asks him to beta test a new app for an Apple watch. There is, of course, more to both Shiloh and the app than meet the eye.
Meanwhile, back in his normal life, George struggles with family problems ~ his daughter has a bad car accident, his son is being difficult and secretive, and his job is giving him headaches. Soon, he realises that Shiloh and his mysterious app are giving him a completely different perspective on life, introducing him to the idea of parallel universes.
I loved the first half of this book. I really like the author’s writing style; George and his family are very real, and the narrative is darkly comic, interesting and highly readable, with lots of popular cultural references; I liked that each chapter has the name of a song. I also loved the philosophy, ideas and views of Shiloh, many of which echoed my own, though this was not the only reason I was toying with 5* for the book at this stage. I read the first 50% almost in one go.
The quality of the writing does not falter throughout, but at around 60% my attention started to waver. Story threads that seemed interesting were quickly resolved and everything was hunky dory in George’s world for quite a while – nice for George, and, indeed, this served a purpose for the outcome of the story, but it was not that interesting to read about. Without giving too much in the way of spoilers, the app means that George relives days in his past life. He also has vivid dreams. I thought the dream sequences were far too long, slowing the progress of the story down, and the relived days from the past could have been written more succinctly, especially when a day was lived more than once. Also, Shiloh’s long explanations became longer (or maybe it was just me), and I thought there was too much explanatory dialogue, generally.
In the second half is a tragic episode which I thought was well done; all the threads lead to the outcome, as Shiloh reveals his purpose; sadly, by the end I felt less involved with the story. The whole idea is a terrific one, and Mr Kuhn clearly has much talent, but I felt that the second half was written less with the reader in mind than the first.
My overall rating is based on the fact that I’d give the first half 5* and the second half 3*. It’s a good book, and readers who are particularly interested in the metaphysical and visionary will probably enjoy it very much indeed.
George is a middle-management, middle-class, middle-aged guy who hates his job and struggles to stay connected to his wife and teenage children. Most guys might end up with a steamy affair and a flashy car for their midlife crisis, but George gets a quirky, philosophical physics professor named Shiloh. Trapped with this mysterious misfit on his morning commuter train, George is dragged into awkward conversations about love, fear, music, and the meaning of life. Shiloh asks George to beta-test an app he wrote for the new Apple Watch–and with a free watch included, how could he say no?
When tragedy strikes, throwing George out of his uncomfortable comfort zone, he learns that Shiloh’s app lets him journey through alternate versions of his past. As challenges mount in his own reality, George must make a decision that will change him–and possibly the entire multiverse–forever.
Kevin Kuhn lives in Eden Prairie, Minnesota, with his wife Melinda, three children, and two fierce schnoodles. He is a technology executive who enjoys sipping cheap bourbon, avoiding yard work, and living vicariously through his children’s sports. While Kevin has no musical skill whatsoever, he appreciates a broad spectrum of artists from Pink Floyd to Prince and Radiohead to the Rolling Stones. His golf game is horrific with flashes of mediocrity.