So rarely do I find myself actually at a loss for words and unsure of where to start, let alone write, a book review. This is one of those times. The Freeing of Jonathon Marks is utterly unique and original – it was like nothing I’d ever read before.
Every aspect of this book – from the characters to the dialogue to the plot – blew me away. I wasn’t sure what to expect when I picked up the book, but it sounded kind of weird and twisted. I happen to actually enjoy weird and twisted books, but I wasn’t sure of what to expect due to never having heard of the author or the book beforehand. I was completely blown away and my mind is still reeling from the experience. It far exceeded any type of expectations I might have had – and then it just kept on going.
It’s hard to pinpoint certain aspects of books that make you love them so much – especially when you’re writing and not talking to someone in person. There are so many different parts of the book that I loved and they all came together to form one hell of a book. I’ll try to explain the parts of the book and why I love them as best I as can. The characters were completely and utterly realistic. Every single one of them. Aside from the main character of Jonathon, the secondary and even the background characters were described to the finest detail (and done in the most perfectly sarcastic way possible). Jonathon is the narrator of the story and his job as a Taker has made him a little bitter and nihilistic. He’s able to look into each person’s mind and life and pick them apart piece by nasty piece. Don’t get me wrong – not everyone is completely terrible in the book. They all have both sides of the coin – good points about them as well as the flaws, just like all of us. It seemed like Jonathon had an uncanny knack on honing in on the flawed parts of these people and giving them a piece of his mind (only in his mind, of course, not out loud – that’s against company policy). He’s no exception to his own rule and regularly points out his failures and inadequacies. The setting doesn’t really matter to me in the book. It could be set in any city in any country in the world. As long as the plot was the same, the characters present and the writing intact – it wouldn’t matter.
The plot. How to even begin to describe it? The summary of the book attempts to wrangle it into words, but doesn’t come close to giving it the justice it deserves. There’s not much more than I can elaborate on about the plot, sadly, because there just are no words. The Takers are a fascinating bunch and I enjoyed learning about them and their jobs. I loved listening in on Jonathon’s thoughts for his different clients. His inner dialogue was ridiculously witty and sarcastic – I found myself snickering and agreeing with his perceptions most of the time. I think that the writing itself is a huge part of the appeal for the book (at least it was for me). The way that Jonathon sees and experiences things, the way that the reader gets a front row ticket to the ongoing commentary inside his head – these all add up with the other parts of the book to make something ridiculous and amazing. Take note though – the writing isn’t for the faint of heart. There’s cursing and sex and other unsavory things throughout the book – and none of it gets sugar coated. Be warned of that before you open the pages. As I mentioned before, the writing is really what got me hooked at the beginning and then I just fell deeper and deeper inside the story until I didn’t want to come back out. The author’s gritty and totally real descriptions of everything (people, situations, society, etc.) were bold and held nothing back. I found it to be extremely refreshing and something you definitely do not find very often in literature. I don’t want to continue to ramble on, so I leave you with this final note: I absolutely LOVED this novel. I want more – now. It was a really great break from other genres and was exactly what I needed. This book is raw with no holding back – bullshit not allowed. The fact that the story was told like this, along with the way the narrator told it – with such sarcasm and witty insight – sealed the deal for me. It seems like a mess at first with the weird chapters about clients and other observations, but it all comes together to form a strange yet beautiful masterpiece of a novel. For those of you who wish for some realism to set you straight (along with some laughs) – I suggest you read this book. Fans of any genre – readers of all kinds – should pick up this book now. Give it a shot. It definitely will not be for everyone, but for those of us who enjoy this type of fiction – it will be a phenomenal experience.