Published by Coffeetown Press on September 1, 2013
Read synopsis on Goodreads
I received this book for free from Purchased, TLC Book Tours.
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Which are better: the memories you have or the memories you want? That’s the core question in Michael Landweber’s stunning debut, We. Choosing to read this book will take you on a journey into the mind of a young boy. But rather than being told the story by a child, it’s told by his adult counterpart. You see, Binky is seven but his mind is occupied by a a 40-something version of himself. As a result of a freak accident, adult Binky (Benedict) is transported into the mind of his child-self…. three days before his sister’s rape. As Benedict races against time to warn Binky of their sister’s impending doom, he must first convince his younger self that having a man in your head is completely okay.
The first few chapters of this book set up the dynamic between Ben and Binky, but it doesn’t take long for the author to really hit his stride. From there, the reader is taken along for the ride inside the mind Binky and Benedict – collectively known as we. Psychology fans will love it because Benedict has to battle the id and superego, both of whom regard his presence in Binky’s mind as a threat. Non-psychology fans will love it, too, because the inner battles between the id and superego present themselves physically with such vividness that the brain becomes a real, palpable setting (very reminiscent of Plato’s cave in his famed Allegory of the Cave).
Coming to terms with his present-day relationships while battling to save the sister he already lost, Benedict is the ultimate protagonist. One of the most fascinating aspects of this book is Benedict’s realization that his parents weren’t who he remembered. This is, of course, a normal part of growing up. Most children see their parents differently when they are parents themselves. The difference between them and Benedict is that Benedict has the chance to observe his childhood parents with the perspective of an adult. In doing so, he begins to question everything he thought he knew and sees that the fabric of his family was frayed long before he had realized. Maybe, just maybe, his parents deserve his sympathy rather than his disdain.
In addition to coming to terms with the past he remembers, Benedict also learns to come to terms with his own decisions. As a gay man, Benedict had to overcome obstacles unique to the LGBT community. What I love about this book is that his homosexuality is simply who he is. I know, I know. That’s how it should be. But too often authors over-write gay characters and the result is that it’s their defining characteristic. Landweber does the opposite. Benedict’s sexuality is subtle and not at all an integral part of the plot, rather it’s one of a million things that define him. Landweber’s approach is pure perfection and is what authors should strive to do.
Ultimately, We is about a man struggling with his own inner demons and failures while occupying the mind of his younger self, hoping to reverse time and alter a devastating outcome. Will he succeed? If he does, what will the implications be? These questions will be answered by the end of the book, as Landweber leaves the reader with the satisfied sense that no stone was left unturned. If you ask me, there is truly nothing better in life than getting lost in a good book as time stands still, and that’s exactly what happened when I read We by Michael Landweber from cover to cover in a day. If you read one book this Spring, make it We. You won’t regret it.
Side note: I already love this author. He has a Master’s in Public Policy (which I’m currently pursuing) and followed Clinton during his presidency (meaning a potential link to Hillary). Oh, and he was a policy analyst who was also the Assistant Director for PSA which is so incredibly amazing. Plus, he went to the nonproliferation talks. What’s not to love? Seriously, check out his bio. I’m pretty sure I want to be him when I grow up. Not go get too geeky on you, but I’m also pretty sure I understand the ‘lie with statistics’ joke in his bio. Because I read the book.