“The Essence of Nathan Biddle” by J. William Lewis

Genre: Coming of AgeThe Essence
Publisher: Greenleaf Book Group
Pub. Date: June 1, 2021

The story takes place in the 1950s and revolves around Kit Biddle. He is a depressed, male teenager, who is searching for the meaning of life. This is demonstrated through his actions as well as his writing of existential poems.  The highest critique of this ambitious novel is that it takes very little time for the reader to compare “The Essence of Nathan Biddle,” to “The Catcher in the Rye.” Kit, who is beautifully written, will remind you of Holden Caulfield many times.  In “Catcher,” Holden finds himself in a hospital for the mentally ill.  Kit also lands in a hospital after a car crash, which may or may not have been a suicide attempt. While there, Kit begins his journey of physical as well as mental health recovery. The harshest criticism of “Essence” is that while Kit is learning to find a less depressing meaning of life, the story becomes repetitive. Still, the author does such a good job of showing the reader life’s unfairness and illogicality that I recommend trying this novel.

I received this Advance Review Copy (ARC) novel from the publisher at no cost in exchange for an honest review.

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