Author: Jordan Castillo Price
Publisher: JCP Books
Pages/Word Count: 170 Pages (est.)
At a Glance: The Mnevermind series is the perfect blend of depth and fast paced storytelling.
Reviewed By: Lisa
Blurb: Daniel Schroeder wants nothing more than to repair his father’s broken memories, but it’s been a long time since he’s thought of himself as a memorysmith. Even though convincing Big Dan of their current reality is the most painful task Daniel faces every morning, somehow life manages to prevent him from finding a cure. He needs to keep their family business running. And he needs to moonlight at a competitor’s shop to keep all his employees paid. Or maybe he’s just trying to keep himself from exacerbating the situation.
A year ago, Daniel would have presumed he was clever enough to memorysmith his way out of their predicament, but nowadays he’s not so cavalier. Playing with people’s memories shouldn’t be taken lightly, and things can always get worse. Even with the help of some of the best minds in the business, Daniel still isn’t sure how to navigate his way out of the persistent false memory that’s crippled his life. Is new programming the answer? Better gear? More money? Or is time the only thing that can heal Big Dan’s memories…if they can even be fixed at all.
What Daniel needs most is some breathing room, and Elijah Crowe is eager to provide it. Since he’s smitten with Daniel, Elijah is determined to prove himself—and he’s more than qualified to clear Daniel’s schedule by taking over some duties at Adventuretech. With the support of his new boyfriend, possibilities begin to open up for Daniel, hints of things he hasn’t even realized he’d stopped hoping for: the contentment of a harmonious family, the fulfillment of his creative expression, and a chance for a relationship with a man he loves.
This book completes the Mnevermind Trilogy.
Review: I feel as though I should have something sort of profound to say about the Mnevermind series, because it’s a trilogy that explores some profound truths: family is important; nobody’s perfect; loving someone means loving even the things about them you can’t understand; the truth can set you free; true happiness isn’t always the result of a single monumental event but is a lifetime culmination of small fortunes and mundane occasions that, when weighed against the bad and the worst, still add up to life being awesome.
All of these things, and more, are explored against the backdrop of reality and unreality in this series, through characters who are real, flawed, burdened, and entirely human. There are moments throughout that examine forgiveness as a means of moving forward even as guilt and anger and regret threaten to stagnate. There are moments that show us our ability to adapt can be a key to happiness. This is a trilogy of the human condition and of discovering what everyone hopes to find in their lifetime—that what you want and what you need are one and the same—and the ability to be content with what you have at any given point in time makes you one of the lucky ones; that maybe life is awesome because and not in spite of its “small acceptable flaws.” That it’s a pattern of little things which happen along the way, both the good and the bad together, that become the building blocks of a fulfilled life.
In this fictional present, mneming (the creation of artificial and temporary realities) exacts a price. Mneming isn’t about dreaming big, setting goals, and then making those dreams and goals a reality. Mneming is so much more elusive because it’s about the grand delusion. It’s the escape from life that makes reality feel just a little disappointing because for those few brief moments upon returning to awareness, what is and isn’t real blurs, and the letdown is often intense. And it’s through Daniel Schroeder, Elijah Crowe, and Big Dan Schroeder that we see an evolution—that in the right hands and with the sincerest of motivations, mneming can become a complement to reality rather than an eclipsing of it.
Throughout this series, there are moments which are poignant to the point of heartbreak and tears, and moments that are accidentally funny because of their significance to someone who understands Elijah’s deadpan delivery of “obviously” isn’t purposely humorous but simply one of those things that happens as a perfect metaphor for finding some light in the gray. It’s not laughing at Elijah’s affliction but loving him because his life is so black and white, and embracing him because he is a constant in the commotion. His idiosyncrasies make him embraceable, and as Daniel’s partner, it makes Daniel all the more loveable because he loves Elijah for who he is rather than grieves for what Elijah can never be. The building of their relationship is not done with candlelit dinners or in grand gestures but with patience and understanding, which makes it all the more real and lasting.
With a sincere appreciation for just enough world building without being overburdened by minutiae, the Mnevermind series is the perfect blend of depth and fast paced storytelling, and Life Is Awesome is its ideal conclusion because of its significance. These books became instant favorites from the moment Elijah Crowe was introduced and it was clear there was something more to him than the usual romantic interest. Elijah is awesome. The rich characterization coupled with the moment-to-moment discernment of what is reality and what is fantasy in these books makes reading them the ultimate form of mneming for its readers, and makes Jordan Castillo Price one of the genre’s best memorysmiths.
You can buy Mnevermind 3: Life Is Awesome here: