I received a free copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.
Suicide and emotional pain feature prominently in the debut novel Take One With You by Oak Anderson. In Take One With You, the main character Charlie partners with Sarah, a friend he meets online, to create a website geared toward eliminating degenerates from society. The towy.la site urges the terminally ill and suicidal to kill one of the miscreants posted on the site before the ill or suicidal person dies.
Charlie and Sarah’s idea starts out as most utopic ideas do with the best of intentions. The criminals called out on their site have escaped judicial punishment for heinous crimes – rapes, murders, and pedophilia. The dying have a chance to end their lives with vigilante swagger by correcting what the loopholes of the criminal justice system allow. The site explodes in popularity with thousands of dying people killing under-punished criminals.
I could see the glory of Charlie and Sarah’s idea. Why should a rapist only serve a minimal sentence or a child molester ever be allowed back into the presence of children? Charlie and Sarah learn, however, that despite the flaws in the legal system, having a judge and jury determine sentencing confines death sentences to the vetted criminals and that leaving judgment to the quotidian citizen could mean having a marital infraction becoming a reason for murder.
The tale questions the weakness of the United States criminal justice system and offers a dystopian solution. My fear though is that the solution ennobles suicide and while suicide shouldn’t be shoved under a rock and never talked about I do worry that any glamorizing of it could tip the scales on someone weighing the idea. It’s not a tale I’d want my sixteen year old self to have read. It is a tale, though, that I, as an adult who knows that hard times pass and good times recur, would like to discuss with my friends.
If you have a weak stomach, let me warn you in advance, Anderson’s thought-itching story does include some gore (another reason I’d not want my younger self to read it). The tale ends with five plot lines merging together. He shows talent for juggling so many plots in one novel, but at times the voices of the characters Brad and Thane are indistinct from each other and several times the narrative jumped from one character to another without clear delineation of who was telling the story. I applaud him for handling a challenging subject and am curious what he’ll tackle for his second novel?