Dystopian fiction reminiscent of Fahrenheit 451 and The Handmaid’s Tale.
All Helena really wants is a better life for her 12-year-old son, Luke. To do that, she needs to get him into a good school, which isn’t easy to do when you are a single mother and a Catholic in a near-future United States where there is no more separation between church and state.
States, even neighborhoods, are divided along religious lines, and Helena faces discrimination everywhere she goes. Adam, a teenager from her congregation, convinces Helena to leave everything behind and take him and her son across the new American landscape to New Secular City, where they hope to find good schools, good jobs, and tolerance.
After facing many obstacles, they will finally reach their destination, but it may not be what any of them expected.
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Matthew Baron has written and narrated a short novella length audiobook dystopian story in the future United States of America where at some event caused a change in the government. The author never really explains what the events leading to these changes are which leads the listener with more questions and detracts from the story quality in this reviewer’s opinion. The country decides that the original founding fathers meant for the country to be a Christian Nation with no separation of church and state. Each state is allowed to choose their state religion as long as it is Christian. There are a few redoubts around the nation called Secular Cities. Walled off to keep the sinners in and keep the faithful free from the taint of corruption.
The author offers his view on the separation of church and state clearly in the story. The listener is offered a look into the life of a single Catholic mother Helena and her son Luke. Losing her job she has two choices for her son’s future education either become a nun or try and get into the fabled Secular City. At the High School, she meets Adam who says he can help her get to Secular City. Helena decides to flee after witnessing at neighbor being taken into custody for blasphemy. Helena ends up not just taking Adam but his friend Zack. The group of 4 will face many trials and tribulations traveling through Indiana, Ohio, and on to somewhere on the East Coast to New Secular City.
The story does hold the listener’s attention but with a few caveats. There are gaps in the narrative that created this dystopian version of American Society. The author has created some characters that you are lead to either like or hate. At times it drew my attention away from the story at the oversimplification of things.
Narration/ Production Quality
The Author also does the narration on this audiobook. Mr. Barron has his own style of narrating. He does not give a different voice to the different characters. This is the first time I have heard a vocal performance from Mr. Barron. It was interesting and unique. The Production Quality for this audiobook was good. There were no problems in the production quality or anything that I heard through the entire book.
Audiobook was provided for review by the author/narrator/publisher.
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- E. Thomson
A complicated story with a Midwest appeal
A local and indie author, Matthew brings up issues of religion and boundaries in a digestible way. He allows readers still to have questions... even at the end. Matthew seems to be an unapologetic author of the Hoosier state of Indiana.