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  • Jeff Pollak

A Book I Almost Didn't Finish

I make it a point to finish every book I start reading. Only on rare occasions am I fed up, disinterested or otherwise unable to hold to my "finish what I started" principles. Justin Lee Anderson's 2015 book, entitled "Carpet Diem: Or How To Save The World By Accident," was such a book. Sheer willpower got me through to the end.


I can't fault Anderson's writing skills. He spins his yarn distinctly in the manner of Douglas Adams of The Hitchhikers' Guide To The Galaxy. If you've read that book - and who hasn't? - you'll know that this is quite a compliment. On Amazon the book is described as a humorous urban fantasy story, and it certainly is that.


Creativity is present, but only to a degree. An example: the book revolves around a battle for control of an ancient carpet that belongs to main character Simon Debover. A male angel who acts like a devil is after it, accompanied by a female devil who acts more like an angel. Two defrocked angels are also present. Male and female, this pair of angels are pretty inept overall. While Anderson provides a bit of the carpet's history, and we're told that the world's fate depends on who the next owner of the carpet is, we're left with a vacuum. No, I don't mean a vacuum to clean the carpet - I mean that the reason why ownership of this carpet has such ramifications goes totally unexplained.


By and large, the characters in the book fall into one of three categories. Some of them, including main ones, have such absurd personalities that our suspension of disbelief, which is essential to enjoyment of any book, is severely tested. Other characters lack substance. Others - females in particular - are presented as one-dimensional sex objects who happen to be witches, teleporters or family members. One major character actually fits all three of these categories.


So although the book has positive aspects, in my opinion it isn't the 4.5 star rated story posted on Amazon. I give it three stars, nothing more.

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