31 Hours by Masha Hamilton

I was practically bullied into reading 31 Hours. So many people on Twitter were gushing about it and the folks at Unbridled Books were obviously excited about it. When I was able to get an ARC at Net Galley I figured I should just give in to the peer pressure.

Like most things in my life these days, it took me a while to get it together but I finally managed to read it. And I am glad I did as it was an enjoyable and interesting read. But I had a host of reactions from a variety of angles that led to an ambivalent conclusion.

So I will try to organize my thoughts by themes or perspectives.

First the basics. As you might have guessed from the title, the story takes place over 31 hours. The central character is Jonas Meitzner a 21-year old who has dropped out of college and who – lonely, emotional and confused – connected with Islamic terrorists in New York City.  The story relates the hours as he prepares to complete a suicide mission in the heart of the city.

Interwoven in with the story of Jonas are the lives of his friends, family and potential victims: his divorced parents, his high school best friend turned recent lover (and her family), and a homeless panhandler who makes his living on the subway system Jonas plans to attack.

My semi-organized thoughts below …

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