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Thank Earth You Paperback – February 3, 2014
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The Amazon Book Review
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About the Author
Armand Daigle is a screenwriter, freelance filmmaker, and mechanical engineer. He's written and developed music videos, commercials, short films, feature screenplays, short stories, and published his first book, Thank Earth You. He is currently working on a handful of screenplays and three new novels. He has called Austin, Texas home off and on since 1998.
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Each of the early chapters is a snapshot of significant moments in his life. The first one will make a few men curl up in their reading chair, though it's very enlightening to women who endure very different medical exams. That should be enough of a hint. The subsequent chapters follow moments that might be considered of varying importance to the overall questions of life, the universe and everything, but each one shows a progression of the little things that make us think or that have significance to our lives and help to shape the person that we become, or in this case the person that the writer becomes. I found it very insightful.
Through this series of contributing events, questions arise as to what is really important in life. Stress in a job that pays well but destroys the soul; the pure joy of creativity; wage slavery vs. real life survival issues, the importance of personifying a stuffed duck...
The examination of cubicle life and its relative value in wages would make Jim Morrison proud. I found myself identifying with many of the author's thought processes.
The present tense writing and stream of consciousness style may take a little getting used to if you haven't read authors who are known for that style. It's different than reading a story with a series of linear events, yet it shows a definite progression as the narration leads through all the arguments for financial stability to an inevitable decision. What each reader might have chosen in the same circumstances is an individual thing.
I especially enjoyed the chapter called All the Butterflies. It was like tripping out while camping. If you've been there, you'll recognize it. When the narrator begins playing with the fire I have to smile. Been there too. The chapters become both more linear and more surreal to an extent that makes me wonder whether the internal voice is reacting to hallucinatory self-medication or whether the inside of his mind is simply such that artificial stimulus is not required.
The chapters become more linear towards the end, yet also more surreal as the narrator takes part in an event that is designed to break down assumptions and barriers and set the mind free. We aren't given the how or why that the person has chosen to take part, but we are given the full experience in words that describe every feeling, sometimes slipping into real artistry. One quote particularly made me want to sit back and just savour the words:
"She learned to control her fear. It was an insolent bitch at the start, but in time, became a partner in everything she did. She was able to direct it, to dance with it, and they were beautiful together."
Reading about these events from a pov that is inside the mind of the narrator was as close as experiencing it all first hand that anyone could get without actually being there. The narrative is well-written to the extent that I almost feel that I have.
I'll say nothing about the ending except that it was satisfying and pulled the previous experiential journey together into a comprehensive whole. I've struggled a little to decide a star rating for this but in the end, the writer's skill for bringing us along on the whole journey trumps any reservations about continuity or expectation of the usual sort of story. 5 stars, easily.
I can’t encapsulate the story better than the description has, so I won’t try. Instead I’ll focus on what was so interesting about this work.
This follows a man who not only seeks an escape route but who finds it. The drudgery of the workaday world, the annoyances of coworkers, and the feeling that there must be something more are going to be familiar to a lot of people in many different professions. It really doesn’t matter if the character is an engineer or a fast-food worker…the point is that he’s wondering if this is all there is to life.
Then answer, as he discovers, is no. Through spiritual quests and moments of complete awareness, his consciousness launches into that eternal now that provides so much enlightenment. At many points in the novel, I had to wonder if this really was a novel. The scenes he describes while he’s visiting that celestial dimension are so vivid that I felt surely they must be based on the author’s real experiences.
This is not a simple read, despite the fact that I jammed through it in a day. It will challenge readers who aren’t prepared to follow the character into that other realm of light and enlightenment. I call the experience semi-hallucinatory for a reason…and that is clearly one of the reasons to read this book. If you’ve quested before or are interested in what it’s like to have these powerful experiences, read this book. The author takes you there…and yet at the end, he deposits you safely back in your seat.
For another work that twists you around and gives you enlightenment, try Reparation: A Novel of Love, Devotion and Danger
At most times this worked well. There were some parts of this story, however, when the narrative became incomprehensible.
The first chapter, although interesting, didn't seem to belong to the rest of the story. Later there is a scene where the protagonist's girlfriend, Ava, performs an act with a toy, 'Spring Chicken', and although this act is described in detail, I was left with no idea of what actually happened. Some of the early 'spiritual crisis' scenes are also difficult to follow.
Around halfway through the book, the storyline becomes stronger and easier to understand.
This is Mr Daigle's debut novel and I believe he has a good future as a writer. 'Thank Earth You', however, would benefit from further editing.
A fantastic first work from a new author, looking forward to his next kaleidoscopic adventure.
Most recent customer reviews
Daigle immediately plunges the reader into the visceral tangle of his seemingly mundane,...Read more