This Week, I Read Arly Carmack: Nineteen

Image Credit: Tim Marshall via Unsplash

This week, I read Arly Carmack’s novel, Nineteen. The book is about Cameron’s nineteenth year, told from his perspective. Right after his birthday, he’s kicked out of his parents’ home. He moves into the apartment above the garage of a widow’s house. He gets a job, starts community college and embarks on a long meditation about life, love, and choices. The book is thoughtful, well-crafted, with several plot changing twists.

The book poses several questions—What is truly important? Is it being a good person? Is it supporting others? Is it being true to oneself and one’s values? Ultimately, the book leaves this open-ended. While Cameron says that, if given the chance, he would re-evaluate his decisions, choosing different ones. He would live according to his own ideals. The character implies that the reader can make their own choices.

One of the strengths of this book is that while the character comes to his own conclusions, there’s no judgement towards other viewpoints on aspects which are often heated discussions. Cameron is a person who tends to embrace others, even while he’s coming to terms with his own beliefs.

Arly Carmack takes a lot of really heavy topics and presents them in a way that draws readers in. Her characters drive the plot. Nineteen is a solid, ambitious book, one which does interesting things and has real characters. I don’t usually read books in this genre, but I really enjoyed it.

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