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28 February 2007 @ 06:35 am
Kevin Brooks' BEING (4.5 stars)  

Sixteen-year-old Robert Smith thinks he has grown up just like every other teenager in Essex, England. Sure, he can't remember much of his childhood. Memories about his birth parents feel manufactured. Hopping around from foster home to foster home through the years, he doesn't recall ever getting sick or seriously injured. All he has are his dreams, and those bad dreams feel real enough.

Dr. Andrews tells Robert that his surgery will be a routine endoscopy, which will check for a stomach ulcer. Everything is going as planned --- IVs, anesthesia, gurneys, doctors, scalpels --- until the anesthesia stops working and Robert wakes up. Doctors are calling for more doctors. Men with holstered pistols stand guard around the room. The confusion increases as the doctors try to figure out what they're seeing. "What the hell are you?" one of them asks. That single line sets Robert off. He has to get out of there. Whatever he does, he must escape.

Stolen cars, guns, fraudulent news stories, murders, kidnapping, fake IDs and secret societies --- the intense chain of events that follows will have readers grasping for answers right along with Robert. Who are these mysterious men in the hospital? What are they looking for? Everyone wants something, especially men packing guns in an operating room. Who are they working for? Who, or what, do they think Robert is?

This is one of those crucial questions --- "Who am I?" If Robert doesn't know who he is, then he doesn't really have much of anything. No beginning. No end. What does it mean if he can't trust what's inside his body? Doctors don't know what's wrong with him. People whom he knows nothing about are trying to kill him. The situation forces him to question all he has ever known and experienced. Everything he thinks he knows is fading. Nothing is permanent anymore. All he has is a gun and the whiteness that fills his brain when things get out of control.

All he has is now.

First published at Teenreads.com. 
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(Deleted comment)
The Blog of Author Jonathan Stephensjonstephens on March 1st, 2007 03:44 pm (UTC)
This is my first book of his. I can definitely see why readers would enjoy him. So, Martyn Pig eh? So many books...