I’d expected 31 Hours to be high on the action. The action wasn’t physical, it was all inside the character’s heads.
From the Unbridled Books website:
A woman in New York awakens knowing, as deeply as a mother’s blood can know, that her grown son is in danger. She has not heard from him in weeks. His name is Jonas. His girlfriend, Vic, doesn’t know what she has done wrong, but Jonas won’t answer his cell phone. We soon learn that Jonas is isolated in a safe-house apartment in New York City, pondering his conversion to Islam and his experiences training in Pakistan, preparing for the violent action he has been instructed to take in 31 hours.
I found it to be highly compelling reading. The words were amazing, driving me on without slowing me down, being exactly what was needed to tell the story.
I was astounded at how real all of the characters were. I felt like I got to know all of them.
This isn’t to say I never got confused by the book. I’d frequently have to pause at the beginning of a chapter to orient myself as to who I was dealing with– each chapter featured a different character selected from a large cast.
As I jumped from character to character, I understood how they were feeling.
This is really a big deal.
Certainly, understanding the worried mother, the confused girlfriend, her unhappy younger sister are people I’d expect to understand. Even the subway panhandler is someone I could imagine getting to know in another book.
I felt I understood Jonas as he was preparing to become a terrorist. I didn’t agree, of course. But I could see his sad, twisted view. I think that we will be far more successful in stopping acts like this if we understand why the individuals involved make the choices they do. Not the organizations, but the individuals.
Just as we were understanding Jonas, and what her was going to do, we also were being brought to understand what he did not. The true consequences of his action.
A great read, and very much worth thinking about.
I think 31 Hours would make a great book club selection, with fantastic discussion potential in the content, as well as how the story was told.
Thank you to Unbridled Books for sending me this book to review and including me in this tour.