Hank Green’s An Absolutely Remarkable Thing took time to grow on me, but now I’m looking forward to the sequel.
April is a 23-year-old just beginning her career at a job she doesn’t like very much. On her way home from work late one night,, she discovers a huge robot in midtown Manhattan. With her friend Andy, April names the robot Carl and publishes a video online about him.
It turns out 64 Carl’s have been placed around the globe. As the story unfolds, social media turns half the people into defenders of the Carls and the other half into people who are afraid of them.
I had trouble getting into the story because it seemed a bit too real. Lately, I have been appreciating fiction that is a break from the world. This book made me think more about our current world than I wanted.
Hank Green did a good job of highlighting how social media is a good or a bad thing depending on who is using it and how they are using it. He also demonstrated the violence that we have recently seen growing out of extremist social media.
One thing that wasn’t covered nearly enough is the governmental reaction. If something like this were to happen today, I don’t imagine April and her friends would be treated nearly as well as they were in the story.
Still, the story did grow on me over time. I wound up thinking about current politics with a bit more of a social media lens while I was reading the book.
Since the book was interesting and thoughtful, and because the characters were well done, I have downloaded the sequel.