4 out of 4 stars
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Nobody Knows by Larry Schneiderman is a family drama/religious novel that tells the story of Jake Horton. He is a relatively ambitious man and a natural leader who must face, like most of us, the daily problems of life. From the conflicts within his innermost circle to the temptations that put his status quo at risk, Jake must overcome his family inheritance of missteps and lies to get ahead and find redemption.
The story is divided into two parts, the first of which contains a quick summary of his childhood and his working-class family background. Then, the story begins to focus on his college days and his first steps in the labor sphere, which will lead him to Sommer's Carpet and Tile, a company he will come to acquire. The second part jumps to his forties, a stage in which all of his achievements will be endangered by the mistakes he has made throughout his life. But his wife's illness and a divine call will provide him with one last chance to reconcile with himself and his faith.
The book is written entirely from Jake’s point of view. His conflict between his faith and his sins is one of the central axes of this story, and the author does a great job when it comes to exposing it and generating empathy in the reader. Despite the exclusive focus on the protagonist, the vast majority of secondary characters are very well developed. Their stories, their conflicts, and their actions contribute to an excellent characterization work, and the reader may come to feel that they are part of its own family or its circle of friends.
Although the book has an above-the-average extension, the plot proves interesting at all times. The conflicts that the protagonist goes through are constant and surprising. Whenever there is some stability in Jake’s life, a new problem arises, and an apparent solution to a conflict ends up generating a new one. While some issues of his working life can be somewhat dense, especially in the second part, each event has its purpose and ends up influencing the final outcome.
The prose of the book is very fluid, the emotions and thoughts of the protagonist exposed in each sentence and word. The depth of its meaning is able to lead the reader to reflect on its own experiences, its own mistakes, and even its own perception of its faith. Additionally, the editing work is practically impeccable. There are no typos or grammatical errors of any kind, just a couple of minimal formatting issues.
Frankly, this book has taken me by surprise. Although the premise already seemed attractive to me, I found myself more immersed than I expected in Jake's story. Out of some moments of the second half, I was anxious to leave every page behind so I could get to the end. I do not see any reason not to give it any less than 4 out of 4 stars. I recommend it to readers looking for compelling life stories, to those who seek conflicts of faith in their texts, and to those who seek to reflect on the events of their own lives.
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