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The Essence of Nathan Biddle Reviewed by Norm Goldman of Bookpleasures.com
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Norm Goldman --  bookpleasures.com Norm Goldman -- bookpleasures.com
For Immediate Release:
Dateline: Montreal, QC
Wednesday, June 2, 2021

 

Author:J. William Lewis

Publisher:Greenleaf Book Group Press

ISBN:9781626348462


TheEssence of Nathan Biddle couldhave been nothing further than a coming-of-age story, but J. WilliamLewis has turned it into a thoughtful compelling narrative which inthe end exacts quite an emotional toll


Featured is an18-year-old lad, Kittridge Carr Biddle (nicknamed Kit), whose mostprofound treasures of his complex mind are probed. 

Kit describes himself as a “fretter,” where hegets some images in his mind that won’t disappear. There alwaysseems to be “something” troubling him. He is constantly worryinga great deal about the significance of “things.” And although heis not struggling to grow into a philosopher, he endeavors to uncoveranswers to very basic questions such as the nature of existence.Unfortunately, his insatiable reading habit does little to providethe answers he is seeking. 

Lewis introduces Kit to us in the opening pages ofthe tale on the first anniversary of the death of his cousin Nathan.As event unfold, we learn about the gruesome death ofNathan. He was murdered by his religiously fanatic father, theReverend Nathaniel Tyler Bickle. The latter claimed God ordered himto kill his son. The  Reverend ended up in  apsychiatric institution. 

Another traumatic episode in Kit’s life was thedeath of his father when Kit was four years old. His father hadplunged his car into a bridge abutment. Kit wonders if the accidentwas accidental or intentional. 

To make matters ever more difficult, Kit has recentlybeen ditched by his sweetheart, Anna, who still wishes to remain as“friends.” Kit had met Anna one summer while toiling as a truckdriver for his friend, Eddie Lichtman’s father’s furniture store.Anna explains to Kit that she is not someone who he thinks she is,but rather someone he has created in his mind. 

All of these milestones have caused Kit an immensedeal of suffering and anguish. One of his teachers points out to himthat he might be having a severe spiritual crisis. Nathan’s death,in particular, has an overwhelming impact on Kit as the two wereremarkably close and were companions to one another. 

At school, Kit is acting up, and his teachers aredeeply concerned. They feel that they have let him down. Whereaspreviously he was an outstanding student and athlete, his conductlooks to be spiraling out of control. He has been dropped from thehonors program and appears to be drifting with no purpose. 

After being chucked aside by Anna, Kit becomesentangled with his friend’s sister, Sarah, who idolizes him;however, the feeling is not reciprocal. She may be delightful andbright, but she is not Anna. 

What gives Kit a moment of pause and a freshperspective on his life is when he almost kills himself afterstealing a flatbed maintenance truck from a country club. He winds upin the emergency room with major life-threatening injuries.

The Essence of Nathan Biddle hasall the polish and finish that readers might expect from an authorwith considerable more notable achievements. It is a rich well-pacedseamless work loaded with feelings and philosophy. The writing iscompelling and the story is narrated with a kind of magical realism.And despite an incredible amount packed into the novel, it glideseffortlessly.

Moreover, one of the joys of reading this story is themasterful manner in which Lewis portrays Kit. He honestly feels likea real person-someone we can easily root for to conquer hischallenges and obstacles. His emotions are portrayed so realisticallythat readers can readily connect to him and sympathize with thetorment he faces.

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 Norm Goldman of Bookpleasures.com

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Name: Norm Goldman
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Dateline: Montreal, QC Canada
Direct Phone: 514-486-8018
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