“Anthem of a Reluctant Prophet” by Joanne Proulx


asteriaiconThis was another one of those books I had read that was going into movie this year, so I picked it up at the local library as well. The author is a female from Canada, and I always like to try to support Canadian female authors.

Luke Hunter is a pothead teen hanging out with his pothead friends one night when he foretells the death of one of the boys. “Tomorrow morning at 8:37am. The red van with the out-of-state plates? You go head to head. You lose. You die.” Luke even knows the license plate number (BLU 369). The next day as he is heading to school on his skateboard, he is knocked off his feet by a strange feeling, the feeling of his friend Stan passing through him…at 8:37am. Luke becomes a sensation in town as the boy psychic who can foretell death, and he tries desperately to keep everyone at an arm’s length until he can understand what is happening to him.

I liked the idea of this book more than I liked the actual book itself. I wanted to like this, I really did, and I read the entire book hoping it would get better. I found the idea intriguing. It started as a boy who predicted a few people’s death, and then it turned out to be…not about that.

Luke wasn’t an overly likeable character. He talks a lot about drugs and boobs and it just felt…forced and unrealistic. He has this interesting “power” and then it sort of disappears for a long time. He seems to go out of his way to be a dick, which just isn’t a character I could relate to. He even sleeps with a girl he thought was dead…twice…but has a huge crush on a girl who happens to be his dead friend’s girlfriend. It is just weird and hard to really understand the character’s logic there.

There were other things that bothered me too. There was repeated mention of an uncle with maybe the same power that he has, but we never really meet him, and that part of the story seems to go nowhere. The story seems to jump all over to me and it never picked up the momentum it started with. The story seemed to have a homophobic undertone, which bothered me, and a Christian tone, which also bothered me, but then a character turns out to be gay and the people who were Christian were weird and then everything is fine? It just didn’t seem to make sense to me.

It just wasn’t very strong, it had no character I really liked (other than maybe Fang, the best friend), and it fell sort of flat to me. The highlight for me was references to 90’s and early 2000’s music, which was a flashback for me to music I enjoy. Overall, I have to say I didn’t really enjoy the book no matter how hard I tried, and this will be a movie I will probably skip this year.

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