Wednesday, February 5, 2014

TLC BOOK TOURS and REVIEW: We by Michael Landweber


After an accident, forty-year-old Ben Arnold regains consciousness in the kitchen of the house he grew up in. Only he feels different, lighter somehow. Something is horribly wrong. Ben is swept into the arms of his mother, who he hasn’t seen in twenty years. She calls him by his childhood nickname, Binky. He sees a younger, unbroken version of his father. His estranged brother is there, reverted back to his awkward teenage self. Finally, adding horror to his confusion, he glimpses his older sister Sara as she runs out the door to meet her boyfriend.

Sara, whose absence he has felt every day since her death.

Ben is a mere hitchhiker, a parasite in the brain of seven-year-old Binky, and his younger self is not happy to have him there.

It is three days before his sister will be attacked. Ben knows he has to save Sara but first he must gain Binky’s trust. Even if he can get Binky to say the right words, to do the right thing, who will believe that a young boy can foretell the future?

Paperback, 194 pages
Published September 1st 2013 by Coffeetown Press (first published August 29th 2013)
ISBN  1603811664 (ISBN13: 9781603811668)

About the Author
from the Author's Goodreads page

I was born in Madison, WI. I have sort of learned and mostly forgotten four languages: Hebrew, Spanish, Japanese and Thai. I met my wife in Tokyo. I am allergic to cumin. The pinnacle of my journalism career was following President Clinton around while he jogged. My short stories have appeared in some really cool literary magazines online and in print (and you can see a full list of them at my website). I have Masters degrees in Southeast Asian Studies and Public Policy. I have a soft spot for movies about talking animals. I am very unlikely to survive the zombie apocalypse. WE is my first novel. I write TV and movie reviews for Pop Matters. I have worked for government bureaucracies, large and small. I mainly listen to alternative music, but my favorite song might be Son of a Preacher Man by Dusty Springfield. I live and write in Washington, DC. 

Check out the author's website
Follow the author on Facebook
Follow the author on Twitter

My Thoughts
The panic came on quickly, just as it always does.
40-yr-old Ben suddenly regains consciousness to discover he is back in the body of his 7-yr-old self. Disoriented he further realizes that it is just days before his sister was raped and his family shattered, and with this adult forethought he is filled with dread and thinks that he can't survive his sister's attack and suicide a second time.

This, of course, leads to quite a bit of confusion with both Ben and his 7-yr-old self who goes by the name of Binky.
What is happening? I said. Immediately, I regretted my words. His small features contracted into a frown. This boy had been expecting me to answer that question, not ask it.
Me and Binky. Together.
I felt the two voices vacate the space, leaving me alone with Binky once again.
Unfortunately it has been a crazy month, and I have had little time for reading. So I am still working on this one. I'm intrigued by the concept (which is why I agreed to read it to begin with), and the author does a good job at moving the story along and relaying the confusion (and yet acceptance) of a young boy who starts to hear another voice in his head.

But the way that Ben accepts this situation fell a little flat with me. A young boy accepting something so bizarre? I can see that happening. He's at the age when he still thinks Spiderman is real! But a 40-year-old suddenly waking up in the body of a young child? I would be freaking out totally! Ben seems to sort of take it all in stride, which seems like an odd response to me.

But the author does a great job at creating a clear delineation between Ben and Binky, and the disorientation of residing in a body that is no longer your own, and which you can't control. Ben almost seems to view Binky as a separate individual, a young boy he wants to protect and guide. And, of course, Binky has no idea that Ben is a grown version of himself. He's like an imaginary friend living in Binky's head.

Will Ben be able to alter the future by changing the past, with the help of Binky?

My final word: It's a great concept, and the author does a fine job at cultivating the story. I think this time it is probably outside distractions causing a disconnect between me and the story. I am eager to see what happens, and whether Ben is successful in convincing Binky to help him save Sara (while trying to avoid telling Binky exactly what they are doing, as Binky may get too frightened or traumatized to do what needs to be done.) It's actually a fast read, but I am moving at a snail's pace right now on all of my books! A great plot, and well executed!

Buy Now:

Barnes and Noble
I would like to thank TLC Book Tours for including me on this tour. Check out the website for the full tour schedule:

Monday, Feb. 3rd: No More Grumpy Bookseller
Wed. Feb. 5th: Cerebral Girl in a Redneck World
Thursday, Feb. 6th: Bewitched Bookworms
Monday, Feb. 10th: Laura’s Reviews
Tuesday, Feb. 11th: Broken Teepee
Wed. Feb. 12th: Happy. Pretty. Sweet.
Thursday, Feb. 13th: Mockingbird Hill Cottage
Monday, Feb. 17th: Melody & Words
Wed. Feb. 19th: The Book Wheel
Thursday, Feb. 20th: From the TBR Pile
Monday, Feb 24th: Suko’s Notebook
Wed. Feb. 26th: Simply Stacie

My Rating: B+ 


Update: I did finish this book, and it only got better. Big sister Sara was Binky's savior. Adult Ben responds to Binky as you would expect to respond if you were confronted with your younger self-- annoyed and protective all at the same time. I liked the second half of the book better than the first half. It was sweet and tender at times, and Sara was very likable. You feel for brother Charles, who walks through life unseen. Even the parents, who adult Ben observes he "...finally saw how much of a struggle it had always been for both of my parents to raise us. It did not come naturally to them." His parents did their best with the tools at their disposal. I wasn't a fan of the superego and Id scenes, but I always tuned out in psych class whenever we got to talking about the Id and superego! But I'm bumping up my rating after having completed this book. Fascinating concept well executed with a satisfying ending!


I received a copy of this book to review through TLC Book Tours and the publisher, in exchange for my honest opinion. I was not financially compensated in any way, and the opinions expressed are my own and based on my observations while reading this novel.

1 comment:

Heather J @ TLC Book Tours said...

Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this book for the tour.