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By John Carney

IR Rating:
John Carney's JUPITER is a well-written “slice of life” story that, while a bit short on characterization and plot, is strong on relatability.

Giovanni isn’t satisfied with his life in Jupiter, Florida. He’s not thrilled with his profession. His sideline endeavor at writing poetry isn’t going anywhere. And his ex-girlfriend is nothing more than a bad memory. JUPITER represents a snippet of his pursuit of happiness through self-discovery.

Life in Jupiter, Florida for Giovanni Alberto changes following the break-up with his girlfriend. He doesn’t want to talk about it. He can’t even bring himself to say her name. Even though he has a reasonable social life—going out with friends, attending local theater, socializing with a variety of people—Giovanni is lost and lonely, confessing that it “feels like everything is building toward something, but it never arrives.” Giovanni is a private tutor by day, but his stronger interest is in writing poetry. He doesn’t consider himself a poet and has never published anything. Still, he likes doing it and thinks his work is good, that is until a poem he had considered to be the best he had ever written doesn’t win a poetry contest he entered at one of his favorite watering holes.

John Carney’s Giovanni character in JUPITER is well-developed, engaging, and believable—his actions, dialogue, flaws, and internal thoughts work together to create a likable personality. He doesn’t evolve very much throughout the narrative—there isn’t any decided change in his mindset, view of life, or emotional state. And while the story could be improved by giving him a steeper character arc, many readers will find the inner journey he embarks upon relatable. Other characters are interesting and unique among themselves, and their relationships with the protagonist help to deepen his character. Half of the book accounts for a thin slice of Giovanni’s life. The other half of JUPITER’s pages is devoted to screenplays for a local production of a Julius Caesar/Cleopatra/Antony dark comedy that Giovanni and his friends attend and an Infinity Media television production during which Giovanni falls asleep. While the screenplays will be interesting and entertaining to some, their impact on the story line is questionable.

Carney’s writing is fluent and easy to read. He uses the right balance of description, action, dialogue, and exposition to keep the story moving at a good rhythmic pace. His use of imagery, tone, and setting works well with the narrative. The scenes are purposeful—often revealing something about the protagonist that wouldn’t otherwise be known—and serve to move the story forward. The writing is clean, void of any technical errors.

John Carney’s JUPITER is a well-written “slice of life” story that, while a bit short on characterization and plot, is strong on relatability.

~Florence Osmund for IndieReader

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