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An Absolutely Remarkable Thing by Hank Green
Published by Dutton on September 25, 2018
Genres: Young Adult
Buy on Book Depository
I have just DNF’d An Absolutely Remarkable Thing by Hank Green.
I’m kind of shocked at myself for this. I first read An Absolutely Remarkable Thing nearly two years ago and shared my rather confused thoughts on it. I promised a re-read. I’m sorry it wasn’t prompt, but I was eager to do it. I listen to every Dear Hank and John episode and watch many Vlogbrothers videos so I know the book. I know the lesson for us. I understand the hope Carl represents.
This re-read has been uninspiring. I’ve been in an intermittent reading fug. This latest semester of grad school contained my most detested topic to study and then there’s everything else, including my mother’s death and a global pandemic, but I think it’s also this book. Tonight I read from page 208 and by the end of the chapter I realised I simply don’t like April May.
That makes it all about me, and An Absolutely Remarkable Thing isn’t a bad book. We just don’t match.
So let’s have a fair review and you can choose if you want to read An Absolutely Remarkable Thing and decide for yourself if you like it. An Absolutely Remarkable Thing is April May’s story. She’s a recently graduated designer with massive ambition being burnt out by a tech company in Midtown Manhattan. Think Buzzfeed, but the company’s not named. Heading to the subway home from work just after midnight, because evil, burn-out inducing tech company, she discovers a massive metal robot sculpture on the sidewalk. Initially April keeps walking, but she’s a creative and is drawn to the sculpture. She calls Andy, a YouTuber best friend, to come film it and she spontaneously “interviews” the sculpture for the camera, naming it Carl. Then she heads off home and to bed.
Andy uploads the video, and because 64 of these Carls simultaneously appeared around the world, but because their video is first, it goes viral. They monetised the video, made lots of cash, and Andy’s lawyer dad sued the news outlets who used the video without permission, making them more money, and setting April and Andy on the rather lucrative media speaking circuit and April with a book deal. And a full-time, hot assistant, and a huge expensive apartment in NYC.
The rest of the book is April trying to understand what’s going on and life. She has become a literal overnight celebrity. There’s a mystery to the Carls of where they came from, what are they made from, are they safe, and why are they infiltrating everyone’s dreams. Of course, there are conspiracy theorists, because it is internet life, adding to the mess.
I’m certain if the main character was different then I may like An Absolutely Remarkable Thing. It has an excellent mix of mystery, relatableness, character interaction, and science fiction. It’s well-written and when I first read it 338 pages didn’t feel too long.
Acknowledging again that it’s just An Absolutely Remarkable Thing and I not matching why I DNF’d the book. Read it if you want. My copy is going back on the shelf.