Rachel's Reviews > Replay

Replay by Ken Grimwood
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's review
Apr 21, 2008

liked it
Recommended for: adults wanting a quick, easy, thought-provoking read, but especially American Baby Boomer MEN!
Read in June, 2008

The author does a great job of illuminating the main character's inner dialog and questions about his predicament. At each point in the novel, the protagonist responds to his situation sensibly and/or understandably, demonstrating smarts, will-power, perseverance, and human fallibility (his patience can and does reach a limit). I liked the plot twists and turns ... at least for the first 2/3 of the book, I really had no idea WHAT was going to happen next. I was hoping it wouldn't end the way it did, simply because that's what I was guessing might happen ... but the author did keep me guessing for the majority of it, so I am mostly satisfied.

This book makes you think of a lot of questions about your life and what it means, and how "REAL" any of it is. Kind of like the Matrix movie. Also, in terms of its mass-market appeal to Americans and its page-turnablity-index, I thought it was on par with the DaVinci Code. Both books are mass-market thriller/fluff pieces on the one hand, but on the other hand, they really get you thinking. And both are very easy and fun to read.

I'm not sure why "Replay" doesn't seem to be famous at all, while the DaVinci Code was this big inflated international phenomenon. Hmmm. Perhaps the DaVinci Code benefitted from the free press due to its controversial religious themes (Whaddyamean, Jesus wasn't a virgin? And he had kids of his own!??!? How could this be? He was GOD, he was perfect! Perfect people don't have SEX! Let's make a big fuss and ... whoops, now the blasphemous author has sold tons of books! Oopsie!!!).

By contrast, there is very little discussion of religion or politics or anything that would get people all "RILED UP" in Replay. So ... maybe that's why this book didn't become an "international sensation" like the DaVinci Code.

One thing about "Replay" which is either positive or negative, depending on who you are, is that it is closely tied to American sports, popular culture, and political events from 1963 to 1988.

Americans of baby-boomer age (and older) will probably personally remember all the historic references and follow along with the book as if re-living their own lives. I grew up in the 80s, so I didn't have THAT feeling reading the book, but at least I was familiar with the goings-on and could imagine what it would have been like. But, as these events recede further and further into the past, I'm not sure how much these "what-once-were-current events" will resonate with people.

Then there's the geographic angle. I'm guessing most people in the world have only vaguely heard of (if at all) the Kentucky Derby or the World Series. (Seriously .... these are purely American things that a busy housewife in Laos probably never had a reason to ever hear about. Know what I mean?)

And I don't know how well the book will translate across time, to readers 100 years from now, when names like Dustin Hoffman will probably no longer mean anything. (No offense to Dustin, but how many great actors can we name from 100+ years ago?) I'm hoping that readers from other places and other time periods will be able to enjoy the thought-provoking themes of the book while using context clues to fill in their mental question marks on names/places/events. Still, the close ties to American events from 1963 to 1988 may create some barriers for some readers.
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02/03/2016 marked as: read

Comments (showing 1-2 of 2) (2 new)

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Lisa Vegan Great review Rachel!

message 2: by Jim (last edited May 15, 2015 12:06PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Jim the Kentucky Derby or the World Series. (Seriously .... these are purely American things that a busy housewife in Laos probably never had a reason to ever hear about.

Your writing sounds perfectly colloquial in an American way. The Derby and Series have histories over 100-years-old, but you're not American, there's little reason for you to know them.

Both are peripheral to the themes in the story - so it's little surprise that you enjoyed the story, anyway.

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