Book Review: Speculation

By Edmund Jorgensen

Downloaded Free on 4/12/13

Finish time: 12 nights (minus a few off).  This book was loaded.  The premise seemed simple, yet interesting.  A friend dies and leaves you a choice in his will; 10 million dollars or a sealed envelope.  The main character Andrew is faced with this exact choice after his long-time friend Sothum passes away.  In order to understand the difficulty of this decision for Andrew (and not for his wife!), we must go back and learn how these 2 (well 3, as we meet Buddy, the final member of the Three Wise Fools) met in college.  The three were philosophy students in Boston and spent many a night discussing, debating, and hashing out new and old theories.  Fun times.

The book goes back and forth between stories from the past and present time as Andrew dives head first into investigating the life of Sothum aka Stanley Riorden.  It deviates in all different directions and at times I wasn’t sure where I was or if I was fully understanding.  It caps off with a readme.txt file reminiscent of that never-ending chapter in Atlas Shrugged (if you read it you know what chapter I am talking about!) in which Sothum reveals a lot (we’ll leave it at that!) and helps to tie many things together at the end – which I very much needed.

The main philosophical topic in question is the existence of God (which a quick Google search revealed the philosopher in question was fictional).  That was not revealed until later in the book, but that alone would be a very interesting topic.  The book doesn’t get too specific on the details of that (as it does get very detailed on just about everything else).  But as Sothum’s life work – it is very interesting to see his progress and how he began on this topic and where he ends up.

So overall – I was confused, intrigued, challenged, and entertained.  I would recommend, but have some time and an open mind.  The conclusion was satisfying, not what I initially wanted, but you have no choice but to be okay with it and move on.  I enjoyed getting to know these characters, and I have to say after spending so much time with them – I may have to pick my next book carefully as this definitely broadened my mind!

1 Comment

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One response to “Book Review: Speculation

  1. One of the many benefits of being Mr. My Dog-Eared Purpose is the shared Kindle account, and while I don’t read many of Kaitlin’s books, based on her review and comments while reading, I decided to read it as well. Overall, I really enjoyed “Speculation”, which to me boiled down to an examination of the nature of intellectualism in general. The main character struggles because he directs his critical thinking outward – obsessing over the state of those around him, while never turning the lens on himself. The book’s debate about God’s existence centers on the ability to prove God as an external objective truth like a tree or a table- something Over There, not something In Here. I think that’s why the narrator, to your point in the review, spends so much time on the minutae of his surroundings and his friends. With that in mind, I think this is a great book for one who is seeking one’s calling, or for anyone who spends their time focused on everyone else’s deal. Which is to say, everyone. I’ll stop here lest I inadvertently drop spoilers.

    (A final note- it took me way more than 12 days to read this book. The wife is a MUCH faster reader than I. Literary types following this blog should be happy that I’m not in charge of this operation – you’d have about 2 books a year reviewed.)

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