Thursday, October 8, 2009

Review: Wonderland by Gabriel Common (and a way to get more entries in my giveaway!)

I almost feel guilty reviewing this book. The author is from Eunice, Louisiana, which is a small town not too far from the small town where I gew up. I discovered his book this summer when he was doing a book signing while I was back home visiting.
It looked good, and I wanted to show support to local Louisiana authors, so I picked it up. I really, really, REALLY wanted to like it, but well. . .read my thoughts.

Title: Wonderland

Author: Gabriel Common


Recommended? ONLY if you want to spend two hours of your life reeling from/mortified by bad grammar.

My Thoughts: This was a story about a man who was born to be a hero. Circumstances changed, and he had to learn what it means to be a true hero. The story itself was quite cute (thus the 2 stars instead of 1).
And that's about the only good thing I have to say about this book.
I could probably rant on for hours about it, but in an effort to be nice, I'll try to be quick.
First off, this book WAS NOT EDITED! Somewhere in the beginning of the book it is written: "This book was allowed to remain exactly as the author intended, verbatim, with no editorial input."
Let me just say that this was a HUGE mistake. It really seems like the author quickly wrote the book and never even ONCE looked back over it.
Even if he had looked back over it, though, I don't think it would have helped much. This was written by someone who has possibly never in his life taken an English class - I have never in my life seen so much bad grammar all amassed into 231 pages. There, their, and they're were constantly mixed up. Through and threw, lead and led, past and passed, where and were - all mixed up, and the list could possibly go on forever.
The tenses changed on a regular basis throughout the book, to the point in which in one sentence we were in the present and the next we were in the past.
Sometimes he even managed to change tenses in the same sentence.
At times, people in the book were being anger (seriously, it's like the guy had never even heard the word angry).
It was painful, really it was.
The book was written by someone who never learned the basics of writing and who, it seems, never learned how to speak, either.
I might still have given the book 3 stars, in an attempt to see through the bad grammar and the bad word choices.
But it was badly written aside from that as well.
Everything happened just a little too easily. At one point, the good guys were being attacked by this huge bird thing that had been summoned using black magic. They needed paper, a rock, and a candle to summon the light back. Of course this was all easily found. And then they had a wall of fire around them, and of course a tree just magically fell down for no reason over it so that they could walk out of the ring of fire.
Some of the bad guys, who were evil to the core, just suddenly decided for no reason whatsoever to fight with the good guys.
So many things didn't make sense and so many things happened way too easily and the grammar was just so horrid and, well, ugh!
I said I was going to be brief, and this is getting long winded, so I will stop here.
Even though I really could go on finding more negative things to say.

Summary (straight from the back of the book): Wonderland is a place where people can be free. They can do what they want, be what they want without having to worry about being ridiculed or looked down on. They believe in peace and free will of all things, but we all know that even in the most perfect society, not everyone can be happy. The one who’s responsible for making everyone else happy can never have happiness of his own. He finally gets a chance to live a normal life like everyone else, but what he doesn’t realize is that by doing so he has to turn his back on the ones who rely on him the most. He gives up the ones he cares about for a life of happiness, then realizes that true happiness lies in not the way he lives but the ones around him. He realizes that even against the odds he can do the impossible. He learns what it means to be a true hero.

Now, I leave you with a question. Which of the following phrases makes more sense to you?

a)A hero is not a hero because he wants to be. It's because he feels he has to be.
b)A hero is not a hero because he feels that he has to be. It's because he wants to be.

Personally, I'm going to have to go with phrase b. If a hero is only saving the world because he feels like he HAS to, then he really doesn't have a choice in the matter, and he's really not a hero. If he's doing it because he wants to, because he loves the world he lives in and the people he's protecting, he has a choice. If He has chosen to protect the world and is thus a true hero.

The author of this book seems to go with phrase a.

What do you think? If you answer this question, it's +2 entries in my giveaway.


Melissa (My words and pages) said...

I am sorry to hear that you didn't enjoy the book as much. I understand when you hear of local authors and such to help support them. It is a shame. Well, at least you tried.

Well, I was thinking on the two phrases you have. I think you are right, since the word feel is used. I guess if you want to be a hero you could want to do so for the publicity, control, gifts, and attention instead of doing it for the feeling of saving someone and doing well. I would think that they would have to want to as well to have the dive to do the saving instead of sitting ideally by watching bad things happen.

Heather G. said...

I completely agree with you. A hero is a hero because she wants to help the world or at least unknowingly does so. Who is courageous and strong in the midst of fear, disappointment, anger, etc. Not one who goes about doing "good" in order to be seen and in the spotlight. Great review...There is no way I could get through a published novel with so many grammatical kid, sure, but an adult??? no way!

Spiggy said...

When I was going through the Academy, one of our instructors liked to use the phrase "God doesn't call the qualified, he qualifies the called".

People who want to be heroes don't always get the chance. They don't always get there in time. Sometimes, ordinary people are put into situations where they have to be heroes. They don't want to be, they just do what needs to be done.

There are people who want to be heroes, firefighters, cops, doctors... but the fact that they WANT it doesn't necessarily make them any more heroic than someone who feels it is their duty. More noble perhaps, but the person who feels the obligation may very well be better at it.

It certainly is an interesting discussion. Sorry the book turned out not to be that great.

Strangelove said...

I will go with answer a), but mainly because I think no one chooses to be a hero.
Not even those who dream of being firefighters all their lives. They don't want to be heroes, they want to help people and be proud of themselves.
You don't want to be a hero, you simply react with your own capabilities.
Circumstances make you a hero, make you come out of your comfort zone!
That's what I feel about this.

Mariana S said...

I have never seen that book, it loooks good, the cover is nice, good review, is good to be honest about books ^^.

Kati said...

well, it loooks coool .. I wanted to read it really.. I wait to do it.

andrea b said...

About the question, I would have to pick B, because it isn't a matter of doing things because you feel that you have to, it should be a choice, a difficult one but one chosen because the person wants to help...

Hailey Miller said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Hailey Miller said...

To tell you the truth, they both make sense to me in a way. I’m gonna use superheroes as an example. If you had the ability to make your body as hard steel would you just sit back while a building crumbles? After all, you wouldn’t be hurt by falling rubble as a fireman would be. I think that if I was facing that situation I would go into the building and try to rescue people regardless if I wanted to or not. I mean, its not like you ASKED for the ability to make your body as hard as steel. Maybe you just wanted to be normal and it’s the power is just a random thing that was forced on you.

But you COULD want to be a hero. You COULD have wanted your power. You COULD want to run into collapsing buildings. So, as I said, they both make sense to me in a way.

Misty said...

Honestly, I kind of feel like it's more of A. I think people that go around thinking "I want to be a hero" aren't really looking to be heroes, they're looking for gratification and pats on the back. It's the people that step up and do the things that they don't necessarily want to do, but know has to be done, or they know they should do and want to maybe even set an example that tend to earn the term. I don't know that they'd call themselves that, but I think they get called that, and earn it. But I can see where that could be a very pessimistic way of looking at it, too.

Joana Dias said...

I will take the question to an extreme consideration.
Who wants to be a hero will end up doing some harm in order to save those whom he endagered.
Who feels like he has to be a hero will break through social vacuum of looking but not interfering and save people who need help.

Edu Chico said...

Heroes are born from adverse circumstances.
Heroes are ordinary people motivated by the need of others.
No one wants to be a hero, a real hero who endangerous his own life.
But sometimes, one sees he has no alternative.
A hero just feels he has to be one!

Cavalier said...

If we are talking about a real life hero, he definetly feels he has to be.
He reacts as a hero in a particular situation.

If we are talking about a classical mithological hero, then we know he is born as such.
He has to be a hero, as it is his destiny!

Nikola said...

I feel like a hero needs to posses certain qualities, but it all comes down to choice. In other words, you can't have a hero who is egocentric or just plain uninterested - this would be paradoxical. There has to be a certain altruistic need in a hero to act heroically. However, as with all things in life, it comes down to choice as well. The choice has to do with what is right and what is easy. It's easy not to be a hero - but taking a bullet and consciously choosing to do something about the world you live in, even when it comes to most basic things, is in my opinion what makes the hero tick.

Unknown said...

Definitely B!!! A is just not right! In my opinion anyway. That's pretty insane the author thinks so though. No wonder you have it such a low rating. It probably would have been hard for me to get past that.

Gabriel Common said...


I'm Gabriel Common, I'm the author of a book you've reviewed years ago titled Wonderland. First I want to thank for your your previous review of my book. I appreciated it and it really helped me to improve on my writing. I've since went back and rewritten some of my books, Wonderland being one of them and I've renamed it to Arcadia. I was just starting out then and had no idea what I was doing, now that I'm more experienced and learned from my past mistakes I am able to write books that people enjoy. With that being said I would like to send you a copy of Arcadia for your review. You're review on Wonderland had a big impact for me and helped me to change my writing for the better and I'd be honored if you could give me another honest review for Arcadia.

My Contests

None for now!