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The Bracelet Paperback – November 1, 2009
"Warlight" by Michael Ondaatje
A dramatic coming-of-age story set in the decade after World War II, "Warlight" is the mesmerizing new novel from the best-selling author of "The English Patient." Pre-order today
About the Author
Todd Cheney grew up in Brookfield, Wisconsin, a suburb of Milwaukee, and has lived in the southeastern Wisconsin area all his life. Cheney wrote his first novel, The Seventh Circle, in the year 2000. He has gone on to complete The Seventh Circle fantasy series consisting of four books: The Seventh Circle, The Rhythm of Nature, Emperors of Darkness and The Soulstone. He is also the author of a science fiction novel titled The Risen.
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I loved The Bracelet because the concept behind it is very very simple, and even child-like to an extent, but the author stretches it and makes the reader and his lead character contemplate all consequences of having such power. It sounds so good that it's almost like a chain email that would be forwarded around the office or a question posed on Facebook: "If you were given a magic bracelet that could grant you one wish a day, what would you wish for?"
That's exactly what happens to Mike Alex, a small town "everyday" mechanic who is a victim of routine until one day when a mysterious package is delivered to his front door. It's a bracelet that can grant him one wish a day. It's frightening at first, but curiosity eventually gets the best of him. But unlike many who might already have a laundry list of things they'd wish for, Mike does try to carefully consider what to wish for, but like anyone, is ultimately unable to predict what the repercussions of his daily wishes may be. Some are good, and yes, some are bad.
While the old words of wisdom, "Be careful what you wish for," immediately came to mind, for me this book also served as a metaphor for the old adage that says, "You can't take it back." We should make decisions wisely and choose our actions carefully, but in the end, we have to accept the fact that we can't change them - good or bad. We can forgive. We can forget. But the scar is there. We can't take it back.
There are religious tones to the book. Mike even says, "He could be God if he wished it," and if God allowed such a thing as the bracelet to exist than it must be part of his ultimate design. So, should Mike use it for selfish purposes, or to help others? Either way, there are always consequences, even when Mike uses it just once to do something bad out of anger. There's a passage near the end of the book that stood out that pretty much summed up the entire theme for me:
"The thought that he could cure cancer, or AIDS, or end poverty with a simple command sometimes made him feel so lucky he could cry. But whenever these ideas were rolling around in his head, Lucy's words were rattling around in there too. Now that her warning made sense, he could only heed it. And he made himself another promise, one that was less formal and perhaps less meaningful, but one that he had to make anyway. He didn't say it out loud this time, but kept it inside, because it seemed like too much to risk calling it to the world's attention."
I received a hard copy of this book to review. At 342 pages, the book is a bit thick for a paperback but formatted nicely, and put together quite well for the most part. The simple cover is a bit too simple, especially since the majority of it is black. It would probably be lost on a bookstore shelf since it lacks impact. There's also quite a bit of wasted space on the back where I would like to see an author bio or blurbs from readers. On the spine, the title is too small in comparison to the author's name.
The front matter of the body is almost non-existent. There is only a title page with a small mention of a copyright at the bottom. Turn the page and Chapter 1 starts on the back. The body of the text is formatted properly though although the margins are a bit wide. If decreased in size, the page count and the list price might both come down a bit. I only point out the poor physicality of the book because the story itself was quite brilliant and deserves better.
And remember what I said about Facebook? I decided to post that question just to see how people would respond. While one person said they'd wish for their pet to live longer, most responses were humorous. It is Facebook after all. One person said they'd wish the bracelet didn't get taken away that day. Another wished that all junk food was fat free. A few wished for good health for their family and friends. World Peace, and yes Tess, that does sound Miss America. Another would wish to erase some of their past. In the end, despite the humor and jest, most people's wishes were not selfish. So, what would you wish for?
For those who have read William P. Young's The Shack, you will definitely enjoy The Bracelet. It is about right and wrong, free will, the power of choice, and how ultimately in the end, though we make struggle with decision, the power we hold inside ourselves and over our own lives is the greatest of all, and sometimes not always ours to control.
Thank you, Todd W. Cheney, for giving us The Bracelet.
Since returning the package is out of the question, curiosity finally gets the best of our main character which is what I think would happen to a lot of us if we were put in his position. As the story goes on Mike is in a quandary about what to do and I found myself wondering right along with him. If you suddenly found yourself with the power to do anything that you ever wanted, would you use it? Would common sense prevail or would all the power go to your head? We follow Mike as he adjusts to the position he's in wanting to make the right choices when he finds himself in all kinds of situations.
This is a very pleasant read that will keep you turning the pages to see what happens.
From the start of the book, the reader begins to get to know Mike, his circumstances, his feelings and most everyone can certainly feel for him as we've all been in those shoes at least once or twice. Once Mike receives the mysterious bracelet, his whole world changes. For good or ill? Well, that's for the reader to discover and also to decide for themselves.
The characters, the plot were all a fascinating mix that will hold readers attention and also make them begin a self-examination of their own inner selves. The book leaves the reader with interesting questions after the last page is turned which is the mark of a wonderful title.
Mr. Cheney has written a superb piece of fiction that will appeal to all readers, even if it's not usually their cup of tea so to speak. Mike Alex has an appeal that any man or woman can identify with.