I was given an ARC of this book to review (but all my opinions are my own). It was published by a small press (Annorlunda Books) that focuses on books that help you “learn something you’ll feel good about knowing.” I’ve been an advance reader for several other books and novellas she’s published (see Unspotted, Lilies of the Dawn, Okay, So Look, and Academaze) and thought I’d do the same for the newest book.
Published: 2017 (it comes out today in ebook form)
Genre: speculative fiction
Length: 86 pages
Setting: mostly England and Cape Town, present day
Summary: Edward has created a new antidepressant, Caresaway, that seems to work wonderfully. Unfortunately, he doesn’t have cash to run the human trials the major drug companies want. His last chance is a smaller drug company from South Africa. Luckily, he wows them with his pitch. He also starts to move up in the world, dumping his girlfriend, Tia, who has supported him up until now, and ultimately moving to become CEO of the company. His rise to power coincided with the time he started taking his drug, which cures depression but also turns you into a psychopath. He stopped taking the drug when he became CEO, and realized how much the drug had changed him. He stayed off it long enough to bring its major side effect to light.
Final thoughts: This definitely is a brain teaser of a story. Edward can cure depression in a short amount of time, but it shuts down all of your empathy as well. Now, you only care about yourself and you’ll do anything to get ahead with no guilt. Is it worth it? That skill set is particularly helpful if you’re trying to get ahead in the corporate world. Soon, all the business leaders are taking the drug, and it’s causing major problems in the global community. We focus on the individual, Ed, but see the wider implications of the drug after he goes off it and can look around at how it’s changing people. He is even on the receiving end of a psychopathic play for power by his assistant.
As a bonus, the book is set mostly in South Africa, which adds a slightly exotic feel to the story and has some influence on the relationships between characters. Overall, a highly realistic story that takes the world in a dark direction. I found the very end (which I don’t want to spoil) particularly thought-provoking.
Title comes from: Caresaway was what Tia named the drug, as a description of what it does to you when you take it.
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