Book Review: Nate

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by P. Lewis

Publication Date:
List Price: Unavailable
Format: Paperback, 411 pages
Classification: Fiction
ISBN13: 9780967195100
Imprint: Back House Books
Publisher: Back House Books
Parent Company: Back House Books
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Book Reviewed by Thumper

I should have known better, especially with me being so fond of old sayings. ’Be careful what you wish for, you might get it.’ I love well written books about off-the-wall characters. To a certain degree, I got that exact thing in Nate, the latest novel by P. Lewis. The title character is interesting, but not enough to endear him to me. While Lewis made some good points, had a few nice plot twists, I have to admit that if I had not committed myself to finishing this book, I would have tossed it on the reject pile without a second thought.

Nate James Morris is a young man in flux. Dissatisfied with attending one of the nation's leading black colleges; he's ready to chuck his bachelor degree in Art and move to New York to get his career as an illustrator started. After having a conversation with one of his friends, Nate, impulsively, enlists and becomes a Marine. So starts the beginning of Nate's life of misadventures. Throughout his story of physical assaults, kidnapping, sexual escapades, college politics and family drama; Nate has two constants in his life. He can count on being misunderstood, and the presence of his nemesis/friend, a sociopath psychotic Guy Sellers. Nate Morris's life is a mess, and as far as I'm concern, he's more than wallow in it, as long as he doesn't get any of it on me.

Nate, the novel, is a big lesson in patience. I was more than a little fed up with it. After reading nearly 400 pages of Nate's life story, I can't say that I really know Nate Morris. There is one thing that I do know about him; he gets on my nerves.

The novel would not have been so bad if I did not get to read so much about Nate, the character. Nate is an intelligent submissive wimp. Things happened to Nate and he just went along with it; definitely not the type of person or character I like spending a lot of time with. Lewis had Nate going through some traumatic stuff. At the beginning of each of these episodes, I kept the hope that Nate would get a backbone and put his foot in somebody's butt. Humph, I wish. It would have made for a more interesting read if he had.

The novel was not badly written. Truthfully, Lewis is a good writer, but the novel suffered because Lewis did not advance the story or its themes. Lewis kept re-plowing the same ground. I Ain't trying to hear all the same crap over and over again. Believe me; I'm smart enough to catch the point the first time it comes around. For instance, in the novel, Nate was in the military twice and college three times. The storyline went like: Nate is in college, then he goes to the military, then he goes back college, only to be in the military again, and oh here's a big surprise, Nate winds up in college AGAIN. Hell, Stevie Wonder could see this pattern from over yonder, through thickets, woods, and corn fields.

Nate, the character and the novel, are tedious. The main problem with the character and the novel is that Nate took himself way too seriously and had no sense of humor. Nate lacks likeability. With any novel, especially one that is over 400 pages, I need to like the characters or at least find them interesting. Nate is used dishwater begging to go down the drain.

Editors Note:

Nate by P. Lewis was selected as a winner of the twenty-seventh annual American Book Awards for 2006.

The American Book Awards, established in 1978 by the Before Columbus Foundation, recognize outstanding literary achievement by contemporary American authors, without restriction to race, sex, ethnic background, or genre. The purpose of the awards is to acknowledge the excellence and multicultural diversity of American writing.

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