After an accident, forty-year-old Ben Arnold regains consciousness in the kitchen of the house he grew up in. Only he feels different, lighter somehow. Something is horribly wrong. Ben is swept into the arms of his mother, who he hasn’t seen in twenty years. She calls him by his childhood nickname, Binky. He sees a younger, unbroken version of his father. His estranged brother is there, reverted back to his awkward teenage self. Finally, adding horror to his confusion, he glimpses his older sister Sara as she runs out the door to meet her boyfriend. Sara, whose absence he has felt every day since her death. Ben is a mere hitchhiker, a parasite in the brain of seven-year-old Binky, and his younger self is not happy to have him there. It is three days before his sister will be attacked. Ben knows he has to save Sara but first he must gain Binky’s trust. Even if he can get Binky to say the right words, to do the right thing, who will believe that a young boy can foretell the future?
We by Michael Landweber is one of those novels that defies definition. The genre bending story combines elements of science fiction with the pace of a thriller and the introspection of a family drama. Ben in the body of his younger self is forced to rediscover the boy he was before the terrible event that will rock his family. It’s a fascinating concept. Do we become different people when we grow up? Are our memories of the past accurate? With knowledge of the future, can we change the past?
Like Ben finding himself inside his seven-year-old head, I found We disorienting at first, and it took me a few chapters to get into the story. Soon, I was wrapped up in Ben/Binky’s life and was anxious to see how events would unfold. The conversations between Ben and Binky were sometimes jarring but, also, insightful as they allow the reader to see how time changes people, coloring memories and distorting reality. We, also, explores sexual violence, examining trauma that echoes through the years. It’s a difficult topic to discuss, but We offers an interesting perspective and a tantalizing idea – what if?
We is a beautiful experiment, but this book deals with heavy topics and won’t be for everyone. However, if you’re looking for a short read that will leave you with plenty to think about, We is it.
This book was sent to me for review and is part of TLC Book Tours.