John R. Little
Bad Moon Books
Trade Paperback, Signed, $15.00
Review by David B. Silva
As you get a step or two beyond the mid-life crisis years, you start looking back over your life with a mix of fondness for the good times and regret for the not-so-good times. There’s also a curiosity about how your life might have been if you had made different choices along the way.
But what if you began your life at the time of your death and lived it backwards to the time of your conception? Would your life make sense? Would you still have regrets? Would living backwards prove there are no choices in life, that life is pre-determined?
These are the fundamental questions and the basic premise behind John R. Little’s short novel, Miranda.
On the surface, it’s a gimmicky idea, but don’t let that fool you. Miranda is a sad, moving tale of a man who finds himself largely estranged from the world around him. It’s a story of isolation, as his life moves in one direction while everyone around him moves in the opposite direction. Relationships begin by ending, blossom in reverse, then abruptly disappear. There always seems to be a disconnect.
Miranda begins with Michael, the lead character, awakening in a hospital at the age of 65. There’s activity around him, though it seems foreign to him, as does the language that’s spoken (because it’s spoken backwards). The story ends with Michael as a four year old, having a better understanding of the world than most four year olds, yet not really able to express that understanding in words. What goes on in between is a backwards love story.
I can’t imagine that this was an easy book to write. In fact, in his Afterword, Little talks a bit about how originally it was just a concept, until he was finally able to turn it into a story. And that’s where he ultimately succeeds. He took what could easily have been a gimmicky piece of writing and made it into an honest, moving story with two primary characters you ultimately learn to care about.
It’s a quick read. And it’s a satisfying read.
Check it out for yourself: Miranda