Monday, April 25, 2011

40 by Travis Thrasher

Summary: Nine months shy of his 40th birthday, freelance music producer Tyler Harrison has started to experience horrific hallucinations. At first, he thinks it's just the stress of his job, but the hallucinations continue until they culminate at the three-day concert in Chicago, Lollapalloza, which he is covering for work. There he is approached by an older man who tells him that he's going to die on his fortieth birthday. The man claims to be an angel named Matthew, and even though he gives Tyler enough evidence to convince him he's telling the truth, he doesn't know what to do with the information.

Tyler's underlying doubt and confusion about Matthew's prediction turn to anger, both at God and those around him. As he begins to exhibit destructive behavior, he befriends Ellis, an internationally known DJ. Tyler is scared that he really is about to die. He's scared for his sanity. He's scared that if he does die, he's not going to Heaven. He also soon becomes scared of Ellis, who is wild and opens up a door of temptation to Tyler.

As Tyler begins falling in a downward spiral of fear and confusion, he reaches out to a pastor he met, Will, and tries to right his wrongs with some of the important people in his life in a desperate attempt to find peace before his 40th birthday.


My Thoughts:  I've been following Travis Thrasher on Facebook and Twitter ever since reading his book, Solitary (can't wait for the sequel, by the way!).  He frequently has quick contests for book giveaways and I was happy to win an ARC for his latest book, 40.  The premise of the book sounded interesting and the fact that I am 40 made it slightly creepy.  Once the book arrived, I grabbed the first free afternoon I had available and sat down to devour it.

I soon discovered that this is not that kind of book.  While I enjoyed it, I found it to be quite introspective and I read it more as I would a non-fiction book; in sections.  Lucky for me, the book is already divided into ten parts and I chose to read them as such.  For me, the story had the same flavor as the book of Ecclesiastes.  There was a sense of hopelessness throughout and I could identify with the main character's struggles, despite his own life being so far removed from my own.  It's one of those books that "speak to the human condition" and he does it rather well.  While there are fantastical elements in the story, it feels real.  By the time you reach the end and everything is tied together, it packs the same punch that I feel when I reach the end of Ecclesiastes.  Well worth reading, generates a lot of thought and gives perspective, but not always a "fun read".

If you're a music fan, nearing 40, questioning life and its purpose, or simply looking for a good read that'll take you through your week (or next ten days), you may want to check this one out.  Although I prefer my stories move a bit more quickly, I still find myself thinking of this storyline and that's a pretty good recommendation right there.

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