Thursday, April 28, 2016

The Environmental Book Club

I'm writing about another adult book this month for the same reason I did a few weeks ago when I wrote about Due North. Do Not Resuscitate by Nicholas Ponticello is self-published, as is the eBook edition of Saving the Planet & Stuff, which I've been featuring here throughout April. Also, it's a very good self-published book. And, finally, it has a definite environmental aspect, and this is an environmental book club. Ba-da-bing, ba-da-boom, as they say.

The Do Not Resuscitate Story

Jim Lorenzo Frost's daughter is pressuring him to have his mind downloaded onto a chip, something that can be done in the mid-twenty-first century world of the book. No one knows what to do with the download, but she's hopeful that will change some time in the future. Seventy-something Jim isn't enthusiastic about leaving anything of himself after he is done, kaput. This whole thing does inspire him to write his story, however.

His story, as he tells it, makes it clear that something big and dire has happened, something environmental. It's also clear that he had a part in bringing the world back from it. But how that happened is a bit of a mystery. He's not a scientist. He's not some kind of Bruce Willis character saving the day. He's kind of a slacker who falls into a messenger job after college, being sent here and there to pick up red coolers, an activity for which he receives a disturbing amount of money.

What Makes Do Not Resuscitate So Good

  • First, this isn't a book with an obvious, unsubtle environmental lesson. The environmental aspects involve the setting and the book's world in which the main character functions.
  • Second, voice. Jim has a great one.
  • Third, there is a story here, one about an everyman kind of  guy who stumbles into the right place at the right time.
  • There's a little mystery here about what is exactly going on, and that provides some nice narrative drive.
Soon after finishing this book, I was sitting in a coffeehouse, looking out the window facing the main street. A truck slowed down in front with a man behind a wheel and a child in the passenger seat. Between them? A red cooler! This weekend I passed some painters. Yeah. They had a red cooler. I'm going to be noticing red coolers for a while.

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