Saturday, June 18, 2011

Review: Where's Unimportant by Daniel Shortell

ISBN #: 978-1461064978 (pb)
ISBN #: 978-0615486116 (ebook)
Page Count: 276 Pages (pb)
Copyright: 2011

About the Author:
(Provided by danielshortell Publishing press release)

Daniel Shortell is a thirty-something currently holed-up in a fourth-floor walk-up in Sunset Park, Brooklyn.  At university, he earned degrees in ridiculous, boring shit like finance and information systems.  His real education came from wandering around the world.  When not writing, he enjoys putting the ping pong beat down on his Asian friends at the rec center.

Book Summary:
(Taken from back cover)

Jack Addington is stuck. A carefree life wandering the globe has morphed into a monotonous existence working for an oppressive Manhattan-based software company peddling products which destroy the lives of decent people. Jack struggles through soul-sucking affairs with despotic executives and eccentric scientists by mentally projecting himself out of the present and into past adventures. Avoidance, however, is temporary, and, it does not take long for his overly medicated mind to lose perspective, causing him to act increasingly irrational in a brutally rational world. Jack attempts to reconnect to reality through the guidance of a colorful group of 'advisers', but, a bleak situation continues to spin out of control despite his best efforts. Ultimately for Jack, a slice of contentment is found only when luck stands amid the rubble of his failed attempts at perseverance. Sharply satirical, funny and painfully honest, Where's Unimportant is a snapshot of one man's failed attempt at the American Dream.

Charlene's Review:

Jack Addington and his wife quit everything to travel the world. After a turn in the economy, Jack returns to the states to work for a software company that produces VigilantEye, a program designed to track employees use of company electronics. Trying to maintain his job, which he despises, Jack turns to daydreaming about his past adventures, and methodically self-destructs as his displeasure turns to acts of neurotic behavior. Where’s Unimportant tells a story of how low one man can go when he sells out his principles for a paycheck.

Reading this novel feels as if you are the unwilling prisoner of a very depressed mind. Mr. Shortell tells a story dealing with unhappiness fought back with flashbacks, a multi-drug cocktail, and ultimately, an alcohol-induced rage. You can’t help but feel for the character, as he is sadly desperate in a way that too many can relate. With a nod to “Big Brother” and the electronic age we live in, Where’s Unimportant satirizes Corporate America, plays into our hopes of achieving the American Dream, and pokes fun at widely available prescription antidepressant “fixes”. While the story seemed slow at times, Jacks eventual breakdown lends to an unexpected and imaginative ending.

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