by Patrick Donnell
Started: Sept. 20
Finished: Sept. 22
Notes: Every so often I'll receive an e-mail from an indie author asking me to take part in a survey or an experiment of some kind, usually with an offer of a free copy of one of their e-books. This is such a case here, though I can't remember the specifics. The story focuses on a man who loses his job and faces other financial hardships, but suddenly he is called upon to write a eulogy for someone he did not know, with an inheritance possibly in the works. So, let us see where this story takes us.
Mini review: This novel uses an almost journalistic style which is not common, though it worked well here for what is mainly a Christian allegorical tale somewhat reminiscent of John Bunyan's The Pilgrim's Progress. I admit to being pleasantly surprised at the subject matter as the main character goes along interviewing people for this eulogy he has to deliver, each person he meets being a reflection of either one of the seven deadly sins or one of the seven saintly virtues. The first half of this book I enjoyed quite a bit, but then I felt it became bogged down with its own weighty goals and ended bordering on becoming preachy. The real flaw here, in my opinion, is that the novel starts off showing examples of the various sins and virtues, but then it slowly gives that up and eventually makes a full shift to telling. That doesn't work. Not only from a storytelling perspective, but as a philosophical and spiritual instructive method. Simply telling people that certain things are good or bad for them will not make a difference to them, nor will someone else trying to explain it to them if that someone remains vague and doesn't focus upon the concrete, which is the fault of the protagonist here, in my opinion. All this being said, I think the novel was a good idea and that it started fairly strong, though it went off the rails at one point.