This is not a genre that I have rad much, so it is hard to place this book. Young adult fiction focused on praising humanity would probably be enough to keep me away. However, I have grown to like Hank, having followed him on YouTube for years and was curious what he would write.
The story itself did not impress me much, but if your if you're into feel good pop fiction, then you might enjoy this. Hank mentions in the acknowledgements that he had some help keeping his biases in check, but of all the the vlogbrothers episodes I have watches, this was Hank at his least critical about society, with disappointing stereotypes and little thinking about the world 'complexly'.
Hank, your villains (republicans, China, Russia and people who fear uncertainty) are tropes and you could have spent a little more time helping your audience understand them more complexly by giving them some redeeming qualities. Instead you have re-enforced stereotypes that I have heard you speak against multiple times. I wanted to abandon the book multiple times, but kept at it hoping that there would be some realisation the 'other' is not always the enemy that we imagine. April speaks at least once about how she strawmans her enemies, so there was certainly opportunity. I was disappointed that you missed this opportunity and felt a little betrayed.
Overall the book is a shameless praise of neo-liberal Western culture and how amazing humanity is. Especially the humanity of neo-liberal Western culture.
One thing that I did appreciate was Hank's insight into fame and the effects on an individual. This is something worth writing about, because Hank, despite never having met you in person, you seem to handle it better than most.
- Audible Audiobook
- Listening Length: 9 hours and 25 minutes
- Program Type: Audiobook
- Version: Unabridged
- Publisher: Orion Publishing Group
- Audible.com.au Release Date: 25 September 2018
- Whispersync for Voice: Ready
- Language: English, English
- ASIN: B079DYXPXY
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,082 in Audible (See Top 100 in Audible)