I’m a details person. When I buy a product that has clever packaging, little gems in every nook and cranny, it makes me love the product more – putting in that extra effort, to me, says you care about your product. So when a copy of Boomtown: Chang’s Famous Fireworks Factory by Nowen N. Particular was sent to me from the Thomas Nelson book review bloggers program, I was immediately impressed by the little details. The author’s pseudonym reminded me of Lemony Snicket. The concept of a warm and caring Utopian society who just happen to be obsessed with blowing things up – it all sounded terrific. I couldn’t wait to devour it.
Boomtown is the story of reverend Arthur Button, who moves his family to Boomtown after accepting a job with Boomtown Church. His wife and three children are all funny and clever – the kids are always getting into trouble but escaping unscathed. These four do very well in Boomtown and hearing the story from any of their perspectives might have been a treat. But this story is told from the point of view of Arthur, who is the most boring stick in the mud you will ever meet.
I think most people would love to live in Boomtown. But Arthur Button does not. And since we are reading from his perspective, the whole thing feels boring and stuffy. Button almost dies 6 times in this story and I don’t think I cared once.
What disappoints me the most was the sheer amount of potential this book had – if it hadn’t been narrated by Arthur, it might have been great. Why was this a children’s book? I can’t imagine any kid who would want to read a story told from the perspective of their father. Most kids would rather read a story from another kid’s perspective.
Supposedly there will be a second book – I won’t be reading it. But hopefully my negative review (and others I’ve seen on the review page for Boomtown) will yield a positive result for Nowen N. Particular – you had a good idea, you just mucked it up royally. Next time, try writing from the perspective of someone we can care about.