*I was given an advance copy of this book through LibraryThing’s early reviewers program*
There’s a lot to love about this little book by Lesley Choyce. The first thing is, in fact, because it’s so little: with less than 200 pages, Plank’s Law is a very quick read. It reminds me a lot of the books I used to find in my high school library. They were short and thus full of quick action in order to encourage students to read. I can definitely see this book fitting among them; because it’s short, there’s not a dull moment. Of course, this can be a problem too. Due to its length, it seems like a lot of major things happen way too fast. I feel like an extra 100 pages could have really helped stagger the events and flesh out characters a bit better. While I loved Trevor and Plank, I felt like a lot of the other characters were rather blank and flat.
Trevor, our protagonist, has a great narrative voice. He feels very much like a teenage boy, and I found myself relating to him and how he feels about his own life. Trevor holds a “brave face” throughout the narrative, but there are moments of sadness, where something much deeper slips through. One of my favourite parts of the book, in fact, is when Trevor talks about religion, and how he selected which religion he wanted to believe in. He mentions how he chose Buddhism because all he wanted was to be born in a body that isn’t sick. This hit me in the gut, because it sounds exactly like something a child would want. His exact life, but without the sickness. Moments like this, where some subtle fear, or pain, or sadness seeps through are definitely some of the highlights of the book.
What I really loved was how death appears in the book. Everyone is dying in some way, and I think that’s a really smart move to make in a book about death and life and regret and finding that seed of happiness. Death exists in many different forms, and touches us all, but that doesn’t mean we have to die: we can follow Plank’s Law and search for life in our lives.
The ending I felt was rushed, but I guess that’s what happens in short narratives. While I liked this book, I really do believe it could have benefited from being longer so that themes and characters could be better explored, but I do think it’s a book that people who aren’t big readers will enjoy.
3 laws out of 5.