“Begin a word without a j without remembering to put two fingers across your mouth and it cost you a penny. It had not been much fun then and it was not much fun now. He knew it was expected of him, that was all.”

Kevern Cohen’s father always made him put mute the letter J in every word he ever spoke, but, like so much of history past, he has no idea why this must be done. Is it just a crazy quirk of his father’s, or is there a deeper meaning to it? The present is a dangerous, mistrusting place. People are judgmental and rude, and everything is really dark. Everything from the past is gone, or at least hidden. WHAT HAPPENED, IF IT HAPPENED is the slogan of today’s generation–all of contemporary music, culture, everything, has been erased from memory in a sort of tragedy. (But because no one remembers it…it’s like the tree falling in the woods with no one around. Did it make a sound?)

I think the book is supposed to be some kind of Adam and Eve story–Kevern and Ailinn starting fresh in the dark and scary world. That’s the only conclusion I can draw from this. It’s the kind of book that super “intellectual” folks gather around drinking espresso in dingy coffeebars to talk about. It’s toted as being the next 1984 or Brave New World but…those two had a very clear purpose. There’s nothing clear here. Even this review makes no sense because my thoughts about it are all over the place.

The only real structured thought I have about J is that there is SO MUCH misogyny. I can’t tell if it’s actually the true view of the author, or if he’s trying to shake a stick at meninists, but either way–some of the stuff said in here really turned my stomach. I kept trying to give him the benefit of the doubt…but down to the very last scene of the book where (SPOILER) he has a woman trap her boyfriend with a pregnancy, and consider killing him because he gets upset. I just…the whole thing just made me feel not good.

When I started this, I actually had a few people I was going to recommend it to. I thought that those people who enjoyed The Library at Mount Char might like it–it has the same weirdout feeling. But the more I got into it…just, no. Unless you are just really into misogyny (which…some are, I suppose), this is one I won’t add to my recommendation list.

Blogging for Books sent this to me for an unbiased review.


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