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I’m writing this as I’ve literally just finished reading An Absolutely Remarkable Thing by Hank Green. I even feel as though I’m channeling April May typing this with urgency. I’m not sure how I feel about the novel yet. It’s Hank’s first novel, and I honestly don’t know how he got the time to write it when running a media company, organizing two global conference series, filming, podcasting, and blogging weekly, and spending time with his family. Can this man sleep? I don’t think so.
So, there’ll be a full review of An Absolutely Remarkable Thing coming in a few weeks. I need time to think about it. It’s the story of April May, with the most amazing name. April is walking home (her transit card failed) from her depressing, just-out-of-college design job at 3am when sees an enormous statue in the middle of the Manhattan street. Like others, she nearly walks by, but something compels her to stop and take another look. It may be 3am, and she had just worked a long day and wants sleep, but she’s an artist, and this is art. She also recognizes this is an absolutely perfect remarkable thing. The kind that everyone gushes over then moves on to the next absolutely remarkable thing and the process repeats. She called her friend Andy, and they spontaneously film a silly video that goes viral because these statues appeared around the world at precisely the same time. She names it Carl.
There’s the setup. It’s a sci-fi set in modern times. It deals with the world of internet celebrity, and societal reactions, and self-reflections—it’s deep. That’s why I need time to process it. It’s everyone’s lives, and the analysis of marketing mixed with online personas makes it very much my life, but I’m definitely lower than a level three.
But for an initial post, some things jumped out that had me in giggles.
I’m glad I lived in San Francisco for a few months, just so I understand this joke. It’s hilarious. For those who don’t know, greater San Francisco is known as the Bay Area. It’s San Francisco City, Silicon Valley (which is several small cities) to the south, and east, across the bay is Oakland. There are more places all around but essentially those (sorry Bay Area people for simplifying your home). We can forget Silicon Valley (again, sorry), it’s just tech companies and ’70s architecture. San Francisco has all the attention and landmarks, and the residents often have the superior attitude to match (yes, I was one). The Northern Californian Carl was placed in Oakland, and the San Franciscan people were not impressed. For those in Seattle, it’s like placing a Carl in Bellevue. For those in Australia, it’s like overlooking Sydney’s internationally known landmarks and placing Carl in Melbourne, if Melbourne and Sydney were a 15-minute drive apart.
The subtle digs at the 2018 US President were hilarious. Thank you to Hank for giving a fictitious president who respects freedom of the press, even when she admits it’s not what she wants to do. And thank you for normalizing a female president. We’ll get there in real life… eventually.
There are many ways someone can die. I can’t say more without spoilers, but why grape? Then again, why jelly?
That last one reminded me how US-centric the novel is. I don’t know if it is localized for different markets. I hope not, but a few things could be confusing.
Harsh My Yums
OK, so the phrase is harsh my buzz, but Hank and John discussed it on a Dear Hank and John episode and it got mixed up. I hadn’t heard the phrase before that so in my mind it’s a cute and amusing harsh my yums.
Stand by (but don’t hold your breath).
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