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A More Perfect Union by Holly Brown- A Novel Review
Let's meet Jane
I have to begin immediately with saying Absolute Despotism by Holly Brown was surely one of the most interesting and moving novels I've read in a long time. I found it to be a marvelous story written by a wondrous American with a picture to convey to her fellow Americans before it was too late. Americans like her and me hope it isn't too late. This message and image isn't unique; those like Glenn Beck strained to illuminate in books such as Agenda 21 what Brown achieved with aplomb. Well, the idea is to show what could happen to our kind in the future if we're not vigilant, so more books such as these are needed. Thus, here comes A More Perfect Union.
In Absolute Despotism, Brown created a dark but telling story of how governmental corruption and abuse of power can run amok, doing so in the midst of human drama. In A More Perfect Union, Brown picks up just about where she left off from the prior work, but with a new main character. And a continuing point to convey.
The reality depicted in this story is so frightening yet so, well, possible. So much of what we see here colored brightly we can see in subtler hues in the world around us, including how most everyone is just fine with it. This is a futuristic tale indicating how it could be for the world should we no longer find our liberties and freedom worth protecting, but instead see humanity as something that cannot be allowed free. Abigail, from the prior novel, along with several colleagues and compatriots, recognized the wrong, but did so a bit late and with too few other citizens. In this book, the daughter of Abigail, forcefully taken from her parents by The State (as are all children), is the focus of the tale. A tale of a future few could want.
The method utilized by Brown makes this a great read, and the characters are brilliant. As we remain with our main character from start to finish, we're brought into a world where so much seems so clear-cut but yet it's far from it. This is exceptionally engaging for the reader, with one pulled in from the beginning and hung on the stark passing of time. For the most part this is a narrative told by the main character, Jane, but while under a degree of pressure.
We follow Jane from her childhood and beyond, and it's good we do. The theme of this novel, it seems, is to move ahead with the Ghost of America's Future in order to see just what our actions and inaction can impinge upon our future generations. Equally important is another mysterious character who is an ever-present aspect of Jane's world, bringing many of us to ponder whether we might have such enigmatic influences in our shadows. In many ways, we know we do.
Might we, as free Americans, ever truly catch on to the lessons offered here and within other stories, such as 1984? Sure, there are us extremists around, calling out what we see and wanting to hold the feet of those responsible to the fire, but these sorts of tales ask us- what is it we're really doing? Is that feel-good action or are you getting somewhere? Further, should humanity truly be free? If so, then why is this so hard to protect, particularly from other humans who want to pluck it from us? If we’re not to be free, why do we select people to have the power to choose what, who, why, how (or do we)? These are good questions because we're reminded to recognize those who seek power and control (and honestly, the systematic decimation of their own kind and its future) are excruciatingly patient. Woodrow Wilson would read this with a crooked smile.
Brown is fantastic at creating an image for us, with strong dialogue and crisp descriptive phrasing. We have several players on the stage helping to bring this our way, with so many becoming a part of who Jane truly is. Further, the story is enriched with the mystery of the underlying intent and motivations of the nightmare man. Just how much of this is all him? It’s important to note Brown is an accomplished writer as well as storyteller.
One could state happily this novel should be required reading for all great Americans, but, oh, it wouldn't be difficult to imagine the resistance. Others in this sub-genre have endured a barrage of mocking and criticism, with many crying offense and outrage to such stories. But then, those who are like-minded find such work refreshing as well as chilling. It's good to have motivation. It’s good to have the Ghosts of the Future take us by the hand.
This novel is the second in this series and more is promised. Where will Brown go next? I can't help but to imagine and fantasize, wondering who Jane truly, really is. History demonstrates how these books ring so true in the halls of humanity, what with the things we've seen tolerated by the masses, even in our troubled and evolving country seeking its ideals. After all, many claim Hitler killed six million Jews, but did he? How many knowing minions brought to light his nightmares, all the way down to citizen women shaving heads and buttoning their lips? How long must we tolerate those just doing their jobs? It's too important to recognize Hitler may not have killed anyone. That he prompted a nation of minions to do his bidding is the point.
Novels such as this force all of us to question ourselves. How much new normalcy have I chosen to accept? We’re really okay with the TSA, if you think about it, and when we’re not, someone is there to set us straight. When we read here what is accepted as normal (such as citizens hauled away in cuffs for merely questioning an elected representative), we have to desire to backtrack along the road there and make some changes. Would we possess the courage we did not before? Ah, but good people obey the law and respect authority, right? All these things above and more are found and brought to light in this well-written work. There are even a few fun nuggets for those who pay close attention to the details and the siblings.
I wholeheartedly recommend that all Americans read this series, and not just you conservative bunch. People populating the gamut of political philosophy should read this and ask- is this what I'm against, or am I somehow supporting this? But regardless of your opinions, see the forest through the trees and understand that freedom and power seldom get along, and never get lulled into the notion that if you're not doing anything wrong you have nothing to worry about. That attitude single-files people into trains to nowhere while they whisper and fantasize that if you do what they say everything will be all right. Never forget that America is a continuing experiment. In this experiment we were supposed to govern ourselves and our representatives reported to us. But something went awry, clearly, so now we’re in a race to see who achieves their version of A More Perfect Union.
Roddy J Dryer is the author of Tangled in Climbing Nightshade and The Egocentric Predicament.