Escape to a Future: Review

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When I first began reading “Escape to a Future” by Brian Wigley, I didn’t think I would be able to get into the story or enjoy it much. Yet, by the end of the third chapter, I found myself immensely curious as to what would happen next with the main character. Despite not truly liking a lot of the aspects of the book, on the whole, I didn’t have any trouble finishing it and was fairly pleased with my reading experience

The story follows the adventures of Jonathan, or rather the misadventures and then subsequent good fortunes of Jonathan. Jonathan starts out as a lowly farmhand, working the fields with his father, but is soon transported to the big city of London where he works to better himself. When the city is plagued by sickness, Jonathan flees to the coast where he then is caught up amongst events out of his control (mostly) that send him around the world. Jonathan deals with everything thrown his way, regardless of how dreadful it may seem, and somehow always comes out of things with a spring in his step. One thing to note when reading this book is that, although it seems like everything happens within the span of months, the story actually spans multiple years. Just keep that in the back of your mind when reading because I found myself wondering how so much time could have passed throughout the story, I obviously wasn’t paying enough attention to subtle clues as to the passing time.

The main character, Jonathan, drove me absolutely bonkers. I didn’t really mind him at the beginning. He just seemed like a basic character, nothing too deep or confusing about him. But by the end of the story, I absolutely hated him. By about a quarter of the way through the book Jonathan started acting like an entitled and spoiled brat. He seemed to forget his humble roots very quickly and expected to be treated better than everyone else, regardless of his situation. He made the point of stating (many times) how lucky he was and grateful, but then he’d turn around and act like an entitled jerk. I strongly disliked him.

The writing in this book is just alright. I wasn’t a huge fan of the writing style. In fact, I found myself getting annoyed at times. The author has a habit of posing questions at the end of paragraphs or chapters. While this does make some sense, as the character is likely thinking these questions as he goes through life, I found the questions throughout the story grating and annoying. Wigley’s writing also isn’t very eloquent. Wigley writes in a very straightforward and simple manner, which while not a bad thing just isn’t my style. If you’re into books that are straightforward, without a lot of description or details than this story is a good choice.

Now although it might seem like I have a lot to complain about within this book, my overall experience wasn’t bad. I was genuinely curious as to what would happen next to Jonathan, which kept me reading right up until the last page. The simple writing style also allowed this book to be read extremely quickly- making for a relaxing weekend read. Bottom line- I enjoyed this book, and although it wasn’t my favorite, I would recommend it for those looking for some simple and enjoyable historical fiction.
I received this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

The Ocean at the End of the Lane: Review

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Once in awhile you encounter a book that is so good you don’t even know what to say about it. This is one of those books.

The book starts off simply enough- a middle-aged man revisits the places of his childhood after attending a funeral. The story then goes back in time as the man revisits events in his past. That’s when the magic begins.

The reader is introduced to the Hempstock Family – a group of loving and magical women who have lived at the end of the lane for generations. One can not help but fall in love with the Hempstock’s, especially Lettie (the youngest Hempstock). The reader is also introduced to some less likable characters – Ursula Monkton being the prime example.

The setting of this book is fantastic, evoking in the reader a childlike sense of endless spaces and adventure. The ocean at the end of the lane is an absolutely fantastic idea – while still a pond it manages to be so much more (but I won’t give anything away).

This book is a quick read. At only 178 pages or so, it’s easy to finish in a night (and trust me, you won’t be able to put it down).

Bottom Line: I would give this book 10/10 stars. This story manages to invoke a strong sense of nostalgia for the magic of childhood while still retaining the qualities that make up a good adult novel. This is truly the best Neil Gaiman story I have ever read.