This blog will touch on the experiences I have as a writer (not to be mistaken for my experience as a writer, i.e. how many books I've written, etc); the pleasure and the pain, the joy and the grief, the satisfaction and the frustration, the magic and the reality - have I left anything out, oh yeah, the rejection, rejection and more rejection, the humiliation and the embarrassment, the jealousy and the resentment - that pretty much covers it, except for why I do it which perhaps I'll realize along the way. Are you totally confused? Good, let's begin.
Jean Thompson begins The Humanity Project by masterfully introducing characters, all flawed, and to some degree living desperate lives.
Then, when a wealthy, elderly woman wants to use her fortune to form a non-profit, charitable society to promote human virtue, the author connects this disparate people to the cause and uses them to address some disturbing problems plaguing western society including underemployment, homelessness, random violence, and marriage breakdown.
She takes it further and challenges the reader to consider overreaching moral issues involving relationships, commitment, family, social justice, and whether charity is helping or enabling.
Thompson asks the questions, but wisely doesn’t provide the answers.
This novel is structured the same as The Year We Left Home, with each chapter being presented in a different character’s point of view. Once again, each chapter could be a stand-alone short story so skillfully are they crafted.
Gradually, and with mounting tension, Thompson draws all her characters and their stories together, but then, unfortunately, doesn’t know quite what to do with them.
The ending is contrived and unconvincing.
However, for the artistry and craft subtly exhibited throughout the novel, especially in characterization and pitch-perfect dialogue, it made for better than average reading experience.