“If you get anything out of this, … simply understand that I am (or at least was) human.”
An Absolutely Remarkable Thing by Hank Green
Hank Green delivers a stunning and inspiring adventure of today’s culture in his first novel, An Absolutely Remarkable Thing. He capitalizes on some major struggles going on in our world today while still producing a creative story through the eye’s of a young adult in America.
A bit of Plot
Twenty-three year old, April May was walking home at three in the morning when she came across a giant statue in the middle of her street in New York City. She tracks down her friend Andy and records and publishes a YouTube ‘interview’ with what they believe to be a piece of artwork. When she awakes the next morning she finds out that dozens of ‘Carls’ popped up around the world in major cities, overnight.
Being the first to document their existence, April finds herself in the spotlight. She is thrown into the world of instant fame, the influence on social media, and the spokesperson for the ‘Carls’. Now April struggles to keep her identity and her friendships as she searches for the answers to everyone’s questions: What are the ‘Carls’? Where did they come from? and Why are they here?
“I thought only about the fight, not why I was fighting.”
The story is told through the eyes of April, almost like she is giving a podcast of her story with live tweets. This writing style approach produces a creative and cinematic feel; keeping it fresh and interesting.
Green also delivers messages of the struggles we deal with in society today and brings them to light through the eyes of someone who experiences them first hand.
Impact of Fame
Through April we see the way someone who becomes instantly famous can struggle with their own character. Finding the balance between ones ‘celebrity self’ and their ‘authentic self’. We see how stimulating and appealing the life of a celebrity is by showing us the confidence the rise in the social eye can be.
April makes some poor decisions when it comes down to friends and fame. We watch her emerge more into the socialite lifestyle and fade away from her own life. We see the aftermath of how the dehumanization affects her life, making her more destructive to herself and her friends.
“They never tell you how power currupts… They never tell you how quickly.”
Affects of Social Media
Green brings to light the problems and influences of being internet famous. We see through April, the stress it can produce on someone’s mental and physical well-being. How other’s perceive you and the impression you make on them can be obsessive and take over your own thoughts and murals.
April finds herself tying to cope with cyber bullies and her image. This leaves fighting among herself and friends on her beliefs and who she really is.
“It is amazing how disconcerting a single vile, manipulative person can be even if you never and (hopefully) will never see them.”
Understanding the ‘Carls’
Our journey through April’s story is to learn the purpose of the ‘Carls’ and where they came from. Along the way we are shown how the human race deals with fear and mistrust of other humans. We see how crowd behavior sways decisions and reasoning and how our culture reacts to the unknown.
April finds herself in between the government and citizens. She is pulled in different directions trying to receive different outcomes. We see how knowledge plays it’s affect on how humans, as a whole, work together or create war upon each other.
“Carl represents power and the future and the ‘other’.”
Leave you with a Thought
With this book being the first of Hank Green’s An Absolutely Remarkable Thing series, we are left with an unresolved ending that answers our questions but produces more through open doors.
I thought, An Absolutely Remarkable Thing by Hank Green was a marvelous gate into the world of celebrity. Through his writing style and approach on our culture’s lifestyle, Green delivers a wonderful cinematic, Sci-fi experience and message.
“We are each individuals, but the far greater thing is what we are together, and if that isn’t protected and cherished, we are headed to a bad place.”
An Absolutely Remarkable Thing by Hank Green
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