Review: Big Machine

So you know the reason I came across this book, I did an online Oprah survey to find out what my “next great read” should be…and this book was the result.  After reading the description there was no way this was my kind of book? Oprah, what are you doing to me? An ex-heroin addict on a mission to save the world? Really?

Then I read a better description/review on NPR and thought, huh, this may actually be something that I might read, it was that good of a review – it had many hallmarks that did make it a book that I would likely pick up and read… like a library, a group called The Unlikely Scholars, some kind of secret mission, etc. I thought, sure, let’s give this a try.

A woman named Rashida on Goodreads has given an excellent snyopsis of how I felt about this book, and you can read it here.

And I did like it, it was compulsively readable – I was tickled by this gathering of “Unlikely Scholars”, what an intriguing group of people, this weird work they did for the Library and I really enjoyed the characters. A lot. I loved hearing their tales of their crazy lives before being beckoned by the Dean to the Washburn Library.

All these “Unlikely Scholars” made some sort of promise, some sort of deal that the Dean was able to know about and this promise was what lured them to the Library conduct the Dean’s work and to save the Washburn Library. But what is the real meaning of this? Why was I not able to really understand what this was about? What is the deeper meaning in this book? Because I know there is one and I just.don’t.get.it.

Is this an alternative Christ? The Devil’s children? A new religion? Is it about that at all? It even had weird sewer people involved?? LaValle liberally tosses in this line, “Doubt is the Big Machine”. WHAT? And what does that have to do with the story or stories that are being told at that moment you inserted that line? Why did you just put that line there? And then there? And what the bleep do you mean Doubt is the big machine? So I’ve decided I’m not going to dwell, I’m just going to chalk this one up to a good read, liked it, really liked the journey with Ricky and Adele, but haven’t really figured it out. If you do, I’d be glad to hear what you think.

What I did thoroughly enjoy was discovering what their promises were, and they were mainly told for Ricky Rice and Adele Henry. I thoroughly enjoyed these characters and the other Unlikely Scholars, but was this enough to rate this anymore than 3 stars? I just did not get the deeper meaning. And I know there is one in there somewhere, I was just way too confused, or I just don’t read in to deep meanings in books.

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