Tuesday, May 29, 2012
Book Review: The Last Thing I Remember
Charlie West is an outstanding young man who earns good grades, practices karate and dreams of becoming an air force pilot. He awakens one day to discover he is strapped to a chair, bruised and bloody, with torture instruments next to him. He cannot remember how he got there. This book follows Charlie as he attempts to unravel his memories of his last recollected day and the whys behind his new perilous existence. He is being tortured by the Homelanders, an organization he knows nothing about. When he escapes and seeks the aid of the police, he discovers they will not be of any assistance to him either.
The book is full of action and escape sequences. It has no foul language. It bears a message of perseverance, with Charlie clinging to the advice of Winston Churchill to "never give up." Published by Thomas Nelson, it is clearly a book well suited to Christian teens.
Although the book kept me riveted (wanting to find out how Charlie ended up in his predicament), I found it tiresome. The action seemed overly dramatized. A teenage boy manages to escape the clutches of trained killers and secret service agents? There was a great deal of redundancy (constantly turning over Churchill's advice, little sermonettes on trusting God when things look confusing, and repetitively outlining the main character's sense of confusion and strongly held political and religious beliefs).
Sadly, I never got to find out how Charlie ended where he was because the book is a cliffhanger. This wouldn't be a problem for me if there were some basic story to the first installment, but it was all a lead-up to the future installments. I'm just as confused as I was in the beginning. I have more questions than answers. How did the progression of his relationship with his love interest move so quickly? Why is Charlie connected to the Homelanders in some way when he is diametrically opposed to the very things they stand for? How could he possibly elude police pursuit when he never bothers to disguise himself in any way?
I don't know if I'll give the second installment a whirl or not. At the moment, I doubt our library has a copy and I'm not willing to shell out money since I didn't exactly end with positive feelings towards this first book.
However, having said that, I still believe that this author probably does hold great promise. I haven't read his other books, but did see a movie version of one of them, "True Lies," and it was entirely action-packed. I'm pretty sure this writer does a better job when he is not trying to write for a specific Christian teen audience. For the audience he targeted, he probably fulfilled his goals, though. My reluctant reader, Bryce, would definitely find it wanting since it is long and never gets to the point of resolution.