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Orange Rain: A Revenge Novel Paperback – July 4, 2014
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The Amazon Book Review
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
"The aptly-expressed Gaian sentiments; the outrage over war, racism and sexism underlying the book and the love story of Max and Mai make Orange Rain the most entertaining and politically astute/gloriously politically-incorrect/ecological novel I've ever read."
"[Orange Rain is] jam-packed with righteousness. Max, a disabled Vietnam veteran with a drug problem--whose life has been destroyed by Agent Orange--takes us on an epic journey to get revenge on Monsanto, and learns and grows as he travels across 1980s America."
About the Author
Jan Smitowicz is a 29-year-old vegan, prison survivor, and social justice activist. Proud father of an adorable four-year-old vasectomy. He believes fiction still has the power to change lives, and change the world. He lives among the ancient redwoods in Humboldt County, along California's North Coast. This is his debut novel. His website is www.JanSmitowicz.com.
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Top customer reviews
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The best part of the novel is how well the author is able to hold the suspense in several key moments to keep the reader on the edge of their seat. Chapter 4, where the main characters go to a frat house, is particularly engaging and suspenseful.
The novel is at times absurd, suspenseful, hilarious, but also thoughtful. I don't necessarily prescribe to all of the conclusions the characters come to, but it feels true to them and the journey they experience.
The novel is radical and you need to be prepared for that, as it unabashedly states its case through strong language and very controversial situations. Ultimately, those with an open mind, will get some enjoyment from the novel, whether that's from the subject matter, the humour, or simply because it's well written.
Orange Rain is fast-paced and exciting. The only other novels I have read that can claim these traits (I pretty much devour books at different stages of my life) are the Harry Potter books, The Bourne Trilogy, Red Dragon by Thomas Harris and another one about which I remember neither the title nor the author.
Orange Rain is more than a thrilling read, though. It covers many social matters: Monsanto Corporation's production of Agent Orange as well as Monsanto's current alteration of animal and plant DNA; pimps as predators in the sex industry; racism; rape; long struggles with our defective health care system; animal welfare and war veterans. We even encounter mentions of vegan foods.
I have permission from the author, Jan Smitowicz, after chatting with him on facebook, to quote him: "A goal of [Jan Smitowicz's] writing is to be FEROCIOUSLY honest about the real world and what is happening to people and animals and the Earth, even when that honesty is painful, difficult, even turns some people away."
Again, this "sitting-on-the-edge-of-your-seat" novel has more than that "wanting-to-know-what's-next" aspect. It is a tale of "pure beauty."
Orange Rain has great moments where the narrator (whose identity is not revealed until later in the book) comments about the politics of the various eras Max is living through, such as "A***ole Reagan and his f***ing deregulation and budget cuts. No money for sick people, but billions for his secret cocaine wars in South America. Dump the crazies on the street, let the vets wallow, we got a goddamn drug war to wage! Yee-haw, mother****ing Hollywood a***ole." Again, it's not for the faint of heart and it's not going to win the Booker Prize, however, it is honest.
During their travels, Max and Mai run into a friend from Max's past, Andre, a jazz musician. Andre helps Max and Mai scam a college fraternity drug lord as they amass money for Max's new legs (notably not provided by the US government who sent Max to war in the first place) and run from Mai's former pimp, who ends up injured in an apt turn of karma after raping Mai. Andre helps Mai and Max by eventually bringing them to the Warehouse, a group of black activists who are organizing against the oppressive, corporate regime in every way they possibly can.
Orange Rain is not a politically correct novel which is why it is so appealing. Orange Rain reminds me a great deal of the 1996 film Falling Down which starred Michael Douglas as a fed-up corporate drone who goes crazy one day on a crowded freeway and ends up on a vengeful rampage. The problem with Falling Down is its impotent ending where its protagonist ends up at the losing end of a pathetic domestic violence dispute. Orange Rain is more satisfying because its character has a clear revenge mission he never wavers from. Revenge is exacted on more than one oppressor, including two different rapists who meet the worst ends a rapist could ever imagine for himself. Orange Rain is the type of book that could never be published by a mainstream publisher as they would be to afraid to touch the taboo subjects it contains. Jan Smitowicz's first publication is by no means a perfect novel. Nevertheless, it is fast-moving, fun to read, and isn't the same old tired thing we see coming from traditional publishers.
Most recent customer reviews
This story is about a Vietnam veteran named Max that has lost his legs due to...Read more