“An Absolutely Remarkable Thing” by Hank Green— In the Spotlight

Green, Hank. “An Absolutely Remarkable Thing”, Dutton, 2019.

In the Spotlight

Amos Lassen

Hank Green’s “An Absolutely Remarkable Thing” is the story of  twenty-three-years old April who becomes an overnight celebrity before she realizes that May she’s part of something bigger and weirder than anyone could have possibly imagined. As she roams Manhattan at 3 A.M., she comes upon a giant statue and she is delighted with its appearance and workmanship. It looks like a ten-foot-tall Transformer wearing samurai armor. April and her best friend, Andy, make a video with it and Andy uploads to YouTube. The following morning, April wakes up to a viral video and a new life. It seems that there are are Carls in several cities around the world and April becomes their first documentarian thus becoming  the center of an international media spotlight.

April sees this as the opportunity to make her mark on the world, but she now has to deal with the consequences of her new particular brand of fame has on her relationships, her safety, and her own identity. We and the rest of the world want to know all what the Carls are what they want from us.

Writer Green uses big themes here (“how the social internet is changing fame, rhetoric, and radicalization; how our culture deals with fear and uncertainty; and how vilification and adoration spring for the same dehumanization that follows a life in the public eye).”

After discovering the first of many robot-like statues appearing across the globe, April finds herself as the spokesperson for these robots (known as “Carls”) and her life quickly spins out of control.

The book is part science fiction, part thriller and part reflection. It is also a journey that takes a hard look at “the power of fame and our willingness to separate a person from the brand.” Green’s understands that the power and limits of social media is incomparable. We read about cyberfame through a mysterious and fun plotline. April is a flawed bisexual character who has direction and commitment issues, coupled as well as generosity of spirit.”

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