Bookworm Speaks!- Degrees of Separation by Marc Richards

Bookworm Speaks!

Degrees of Separation by Marc Richards


The Story: Everything is actions and reactions. Every movement begets another. God blessed the wings of the fly to teach us a lesson, but I'll be damned if I know what that lesson is. Whether you like a good love story, satire, sci-fi, horror, surrealist humor, or just plain words, you'll enjoy this book. It literally has everything: Inter-dimensional intrigue, the end of the world, the beginning of relationships, box-a-philes, and frozen people returning from the bottom of the sea. Not at all inspired by the Torah or the Bible. Every chapter reads like its own story, but also like a novel. It's hard to explain.

The Good: This is an extremely unique book, it is hard to determine exactly what it is. Every chapter is different but its not quite an anthology. The stories tend to revolve around the inhabitants of a unnamed town or city and their trials and tribulations. 

The lesson this book teaches is one that everyone needs to acknowledge. It is one of the first laws of the physics: For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. We are all connected, no matter how much we may thing we are alone, but our words and deeds can effect everyone we see and talk too. Those actions ripple throughout the web we have created in our world which is even more connected than ever before thanks to advances in communications and economic interdependence. All of the chapters, despite some being radically different, all tie together. Sometimes the connections are obvious and sometimes the previous passages are only mentioned in passing, but connected nonetheless. 

The writing style is extremely tangible. The reader can feel the emotion written into the words. The emotions themselves may not be particularly passionate but the fact of the matter is: most of us go through our daily lives in relative placidity, especially with routines in place. Passion really only occurs when that system is jarred. This book really hits close to home and in ways that are not always pleasant, but that is what some would say is the very purpose of art: To provoke a reaction.  

The Flaws: The book acknowledges the very thing that is it’s major flaw: It is hard to explain exactly what this book is or what it wants to be. Perhaps it does not want to be anything in particular. All it seems it wants to be is a series of tales. Some of them may be true, some may be complete fabrications, and others may be truth and fiction intertwined. It is hard to say. Some of the stories are exceedingly depressing, even the author’s notes (true or not) were very down.  This is not the kind of the book that Bookworm typically would read on his own. This book seems to emphasize the suffering that seems to be the one constant of human life. The folks, whose stories are told are not role models by any stretch of the imagination. They are freaks, kooks, and lost souls who most of the time end up dead. Is this some exploration of the futility of all of mankind’s endeavors? Perhaps…but then again…perhaps too much is being read into this. The bottom line is that everyone who has ever lived and died has a story. Not all of them are uplifting, most of them are boring, and a lot are sad, but they are a story. They have beginnings and endings and everything in between. All we can really do, is tell and create our own stories.   

Final Verdict: This was a good book but its not the kind of book that Bookworm can really say he ‘liked”. Much like the book, Bookworm’s feelings on it are a bit of a paradox. It was found to be depressing and confusing but the talent of the writing makes one acknowledge that this was a well done book. 

Four out of Five Stars


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