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I have been so moved by this book. I can't recommend it enough. This is a rare story that will stick with me quite a while. I will no doubt listen to it again and will buy the hard back copy just to own it. I love books, and read often, but this story touched me as few do this much.
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The Essay: A Novel is a delightful book, full of humor, warmth, realism and just plain humanity.
Something about this book sets it apart from so many books I have read lately.
Maybe the author had a simple message and story to tell and doesn't try over-impress the reader with how great he can write.
And yet, even though the story is direct and tells of how a young man overcomes a mountain of obstacles in his life through his own determination as well as with the help of some compassionate adults, it is a powerful novel.
The story wasn't preachy or corny -- it was highly entertaining and moving at the same time.
I especially want to compliment the narrator, Fleet Cooper. He was excellent and delivered the voice of the main character, Jimmy Lee, as well as all of the other male and female characters with clarity and quality so that it was easy to distinguish who was speaking as the story unfolded.
I enjoyed this modern twist on the Dickens style story of a poor boy who makes good with the help of some brave and dedicated teachers. Despite the story being structured so that the outcome is known at the start, the tale of how the boy achieves his goal is beautifully told. All the issues of disadvantage and the devastating effects of societal prejudice are dealt with. And very gratifying too is the author's device of using natural justice to despatch the main evildoer. Great book, with very contemporary focus on much of what ails the modern American economy and justice system.