Friday, October 24, 2014

Jason Mott Wonders About All Things

It took a long time for the crowd to understand that it was falling … that he was falling … the man most townspeople considered the best of them. Matt Cooper had crashed. And in a flash he was dead.

It was miracle he wasn't the only one. The wreckage of his plane seems to wash over the crowd and leave them broken and bloody but not mortally wounded. Even the announcers who had been seated on the now broken grain silo were comparatively unscratched. And the fire was easily put out.

Even as the dust settled and the unharmed began to sift through the wreckage of the grain silo expecting the worst, the worst didn't come until they found a 13-year-old girl named Ava and her best friend Wash huddled beneath a pocket of rubble. They are alive; but Wash was badly injured.

Macon Campbell, Ava's father and town sheriff, was the first to find them. Ava quickly assured him that she was okay but that Wash was unconscious with a steel rod protruding from his side. After freeing herself, she quickly crawled to her friend in a panic and rashly tried to move him, collapsing part of their pocket. And it was in this desperation that the first of many miracles would happen.

The Wonder Of All Things is a spellbinding story of free choice. 

The Wonder Of All Things is a fascinating and beautifully written book about selflessness, and selfishness, obligation and freedom, kinship and character. Mostly, however, it asks questions that aren't always answered as Mott drifts through a story that sometimes feels like it's missing real substance, always on the verge of something profound but never stumbling into an epiphany.

The challenge comes from creating a cast of largely simple characters who are mostly overwhelmed to discover that Ava has acquired the gift of healing. They are especially overwhelmed, it seems, because the gift of healing isn't free. It extracts a large and potentially fatal toll on Ava to do it.

And therein lies where the story falls short. Macon Campbell, for example, frequently frames up whether or not he should encourage Ava to heal people as a question of individual rights vs. societal responsibility (and as it applies across the scale: world, community, church, family, closest friends). But it's hard to believe most fathers would find this to be a dilemma. Given the risk, the answer is no.

This isn't the only occasion when someone has done something so recklessly wrong. Contrary, it's difficult to recall a single character in The Wonder Of All Things who can make the right choices for the right reasons. As a result, most of them are trapped into appearing selfish even when they make the right choices for the wrong reasons.

In a world where most adults come across as the weakest links or outright dangerous, it isn't any wonder why Ava and Wash must navigate most of their troubled waters alone. Succinctly put, everyone wants a piece of Ava — scientists, reporters, clergymen, and even those closest to her. And, for whatever reason, the few people who ought to serve as her protectors are too broken to do so.

A few more graphs about Jason Mott. 

As a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Wilmington, Jason Mott wrote poetry and fiction for literary journals before writing his first novel, The Returned. Much like The Wonder Of All Things. The Returned touches on the impact of miracles and how they might confound us in everyday life.

The primary difference between the books is that The Returned felt grounded in having an adult protagonist struggle but still manage to hold onto his moral compass. The adults in The Wonder Of All Things don't have the same wherewithall, slowing down the entire story as the better equipped but still fallible children attempt to give the novel passive purpose.

The Wonder Of All Things By Jason Mott Perplexes At 4.2 On The Liquid Hip Scale. 

The novel is good enough to share provided the readers reset their expectations. The story is a great conversation piece and Mott has a real talent for writing that stems from being a poet first and novelist second. In the end, the novel will leave most readers feeling like there could have been more to this story. The potential and prose is there, but not necessarily a riviting plotline.

You can find The Wonder of All Things by Jason Mott on Amazon. You can also order The Wonder Of All Things from Barnes & Noble. The book can also be downloaded for iBooks or as an audiobook from iTunes. Julia Whelan narrates well enough despite muddling the abundance of male voices.
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