Do You Realize?
George is a middle-management, middle-class, middle-aged guy who hates his job and struggles to stay connected to his wife and teenage children. Most guys might end up with a steamy affair and a flashy car for their midlife crisis, but George gets a quirky, philosophical physics professor named Shiloh. Trapped with this mysterious misfit on his morning commuter train, George is dragged into awkward conversations about love, fear, music, and the meaning of life. Shiloh asks George to beta-test an app he wrote for the new Apple Watch--and with a free watch included, how could he say no?
When tragedy strikes, throwing George out of his uncomfortable comfort zone, he learns that Shiloh's app lets him journey through alternate versions of his past. As challenges mount in his own reality, George must make a decision that will change him--and possibly the entire multiverse--forever.
Genres: Science Ficton / Fiction
Author: Kevin A. Kuhn
Paperback, 416 pages
Published February 1st 2017
Publishing House: Beaver's Pond Press
Have you ever thought about the chance to relive a few days of your life? Perhaps travel back in time to a day that means a lot to you…your wedding, the birth of your child, a special vacation or a last moment of a loved one? Would you take the chance and gamble, or manipulate an outcome in your favor?
This book is about that chance! It is the exploration of one man’s struggle with the big questions of life and his knowledge in hindsight. It is a journey that will captivate readers hook and sink with its authentic and humbling insights that, in my case, made my heart sing and ache at the same time.
“Well, my job sucks, I’m balding, I seem to put on five pounds every year, and I think my wife and I are falling a little more out of love every day.”
George’s life is busy. His responsibilities are wearing him down. He is not really unhappy, nor is he really happy either. Silently a mutiny of passion has crept into his daily life. The years of the mundane and daily grind have become the silent killer of experiencing joy and pleasure. He feels numb and too tired to change….yet he reminisces of all the good times with his wife when they were younger and his children in earlier years.
George is an understanding man. He and his wife are juggling teenage kids, Saturday games, school issues, book club, work ect. At middle age, he naturally is pondering the big questions. On his daily train commute to and from work he has plenty of time to think.
One morning George meets this unusual man named Shiloh on the train. His straight into the bulls-eye question for George leaves him curious about this man. This short conversation with a stranger stays with him and won’t leave his mind long after he departs the train.
“So this thing that has brought down empires and is responsible for about half of all the music, literature, and art on the planet just boils down to two people caring for each other?”
– Kevin Kuhn
Anticipating to run into Shiloh again, George makes sure he is taking the same train to work every day. When they meet again, their conversation seems to seemingly continue where it ended the last time. And after meeting a few more times like this on the train, Shiloh offers George to take part in beta testing a new app on an apple watch he was developing. This app would enable a user to be transported up to 10 times to the day of their choice they have already lived.
Since Shiloh’s and George's conversations have progressed to the deeper questions and meanings of life, George decided to trust this man, take the offer and give this watch a try.
“You see, stellar evolution, galactic formation, birth of the solar system, creation of life, human evolution, industrial revolution, technology transformation – we tend to think of all of them all as separate events. But they aren’t; they’re one story. They are a continuous stream of development of higher and higher orders. That’s the journey of complexity we’re on.”
“Our abilities to solve social issues is moving at a snail’s pace. We need to advance our humanity as fast as our technology; otherwise it’s all going to end.”
– Kevin Kuhn
Parallel to George’s time traveling probes, there are a lot of things happening in his home life. The kind of things one has no control over, but that are devastating for a parent and spouse. This is adding more stress onto him and his wife and George is toying with the idea to perhaps changing the outcome of things happening around him.
“Where was I? Oh yeah, feeling sorry for myself. So, assuming that Alex pulls out of this and things go back to normal, then what? Become a better parent, listen more, keep my job or find a new job? Is everything going to be better then? Maybe Shiloh will give me a few more speeches about the meaning of life and it will be all be clear? A little less fear, a little more love, be more positive, and everything will fall into place. It all sounds good, but is it going to change anything?”
But with time he figures out:
“If my traveling is teaching me anything, it’s we tend to glorify the past”
And this is where I will leave it be to not spoil anyone the pleasure of reading what actually all happens to George and his family.
I thought I had this figured out. I thought this is just another time travel story with the same outcome as all the others. BUT I WAS WRONG. The highlight in this novel is the entire journey as George’s experiences and thought patterns evolve. It goes without saying that a smidget of appreciation of all the good things we have in our lives come highly into focus. The grass is not always greener on the other side…and in theory we know that! But this novel did not have the outcome that focuses on that entirely. This is where it differs from so many of the other novels with the same tried concept.
The reading experience of this novel kept me at awe at the humbling processes put into words, sentences and chapters. It takes a great deal of intuition, emotional intelligence and experience to put this progression in growth of mindset on paper. Granted, I do believe this book may speak more to the mature audience as the main character is of middle age but it would be wonderful for anyone to read. And this, perhaps, is why I loved this book so much. It was very relatable and left me at times snicker or tear up. The ending commences to a sweet twist I had not thought off and I was left all stirred up in my heart and deeply moved. If that isn’t what a great book is supposed to do, or the feels aren't hitting you, then try and read it again in 10 years ;)
I received the book "Do You Realize?" by the author Kevin Kuhn in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts are my own.
Please check out my author Q&A :
Thank you for my signed Copy Kevin Kuhn :)