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The Unwilling

– tekijä: John Hart

JäseniäKirja-arvostelujaSuosituimmuussijaKeskimääräinen arvioMaininnat
228781,532 (4.3)1



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Näyttää 1-5 (yhteensä 8) (seuraava | näytä kaikki)
One of the best authors I’ve read, John Hart has again written a book to win me over. I feared this might be more like his Johnny Merriman books, which seemed to be experiments that didn’t work for me. But now, with THE UNWILLING, he is back.

The story takes place in the 1970s, during the Vietnam war. There were three brothers: one was drafted and died in Vietnam; another, Jason, enlisted, served three tours, came home addicted to heroin, and served time in jail; and the youngest, Gibby, is a senior in high school and determined to help Jason. And, then, there are their parents: the quite strange and unnatural mother, who considers both of her older sons to be dead, treats Gibby (a childish name) like a child, and is rarely part of the story; and the father, a police detective, who seems less unnatural but has also given up on Jason.

On the one hand, this is a coming-of-age book. That is, many parts of it are devoted to Gibby and his friends as they deal with their teenage anxieties. But it is his wish to help his brother that propels the story.

On the other hand is all the violence. Much of it is VIOLENCE in caps, so much violence that it gets tedious, and I found myself skimming some of these paragraphs.

And there are the hard-to-believe parts with “X" and his dominion over the prison, including the warden, guards, and other prisoners. I like to believe in characters even in fiction.

All in all, THE UNWILLING is good. But Hart goes too far with the violence this time. Also, I would have preferred a storyline that did not revolve around the unbelievable "X." ( )
  techeditor | Sep 9, 2020 |
This very dark novel set in Charlottesville, North Carolina in 1972 is about the different relationships between a father and each of his sons, and those the sons have with one another. All of these connections are challenged by both the shattering impact of the Vietnam War on the family, and by the depravity they encounter even without the war.

Police detective Bill French and his wife Gabrielle had three sons. Robert died in Vietnam. His twin brother Jason served three tours in Vietnam and came home broken: addicted to drugs and involved with crime that led to a three-year stint in Lanesworth State Prison. Bill and his wife believe that the war in essence killed both of the twins: “Robert with a bullet to the heart, and his brother more insidiously.” Gabrielle in particular has a problem with Jason - she always preferred Robert. When he died, she said she wished it had been Jason. She is repelled by Jason now and terrified he will ruin Gibby (Gibson), who is 18 (five years younger than the twins), and whom Gabrielle considers to be her only remaining son. Bill is upset by what Jason seems to have become, but still loves his son fiercely - a love he has not been able to express, however.

Gibby admires Jason, thinking he is all that Gibby is not. Reflecting the cultural influences around him, Gibby compares himself to Jason, and he comes up short in his own mind:

“Sex. Death. Experience. These were the things that made him a man and me something less.”

As the novel opens, Jason has just been released from prison, and invites Gibby to spend a day with him and with two young women in their late twenties, Tyra and Sara. Tyra is a troubled person who drinks too much and finds Jason’s bad reputation and scars “hot.” Sara, the day’s designated partner for Gibby, is more grounded, but no saint either.

The day goes terribly wrong, and Jason is sent back to prison for murder. A rich, powerful, and psychopathic prisoner in Lanesworth known as “X” set up the crime so Jason would be brought back. We only find out why far into the story.

Gibby is convinced of Jason’s innocence, and outraged that his father doesn’t do more to prove it. He intends to find out himself what happened, but is in way over his head. His best friend Chance decides to help Gibby, and this puts Chance in danger too. Before long all three of the boys are fighting for their lives, and Bill has to make a choice about helping them and how to go about it if he does, because to save one might condemn the others.

Evaluation: Disturbing truths about Vietnam and the human psyche dominate this gritty story, but it is also very much a coming of age book highlighting the bonds of family and friendship. It seemed to me that the horrifying details of the story are not there for sensationalism; rather, they are presented as an outgrowth of sadness, injustice, and/or the tragedy of wretched circumstances. ( )
  nbmars | Jun 24, 2020 |
If you are squeamish, this is not the book for you. Violence abounds in this gripping thriller. Animal lovers beware. Hart is an excellent author who doesn't miss this time.
Jason, a decorated former soldier, is also violent and out of reclaim his good name after his release from prison for a crime he did not commit. A woman who taunts and then is dead, a corrupt warden who takes pleasure in pain (other people's pain!), a vice lord out to put him back in prison, and an innocence project that takes on his case, all combine for a thrill ride with lots of violence. Once you start this book, you won’t be able to put it down.
5 of 5 stars with a warning for violence ( )
  beckyhaase | May 1, 2020 |
I want to thank John Hart for a disturbing mesmerizing tale! Brutal fights in prison, serial killers, family dynamics, and war stories expertly woven together to form a spellbinding story. Sorry, no spoilers here. Read the book, and discover another fascinating author! ( )
  bearlyr | Apr 27, 2020 |
Hart gives us another young-man protagonist, learning about the world and coming of age in 1972. Gibson French's two brothers went to war in Viet Nam; one was killed and the other returned a drug addict. The story begins with Jason being released from prison and wanting to see his younger brother. Gibby's protective parents want to keep them apart, but can't.

When Jason is arrested and returned to prison for the gruesome murder of a woman he knows, Gibby is convinced of Jason's innocence and tries to investigate the murder himself. He learns more of the true story of Jason's service, but his investigation leads to a savage beating.

Hart gives us his usual dose of graphic violence, well integrated into the story. The characters are well drawn, including the brothers, their father, Gibby's friend Chance, and a couple of psychopaths who make the story go. Hart ramps up the tension fairly quickly and keeps it high till the end. Themes include family, friendship, growing up fast, and the effects of the war. I didn't enjoy this one as much as his two Johnny Merrimon novels, but it's probably the next best. ( )
  Jim53 | Apr 4, 2020 |
Näyttää 1-5 (yhteensä 8) (seuraava | näytä kaikki)
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