All over the world the sun goes out for exactly twelve minutes and the leaders of the world fly into a frenzy trying to figure out which one of them could have ordered this. But as the light comes back so does Joe, who has appeared to Sophie on the field of a boarding school in New Zealand. She instantly knows how important he will be to her but as news travels about his strange claims and plans for the world he starts to become important to most and problem for a few.
A big thank you to Red Door Press for including me in your blog tour for this wonderfully insightful book. It perfectly touches on some of the world's most pressing inequalities and threats to civilisation, as well as the threats to the Earth itself. I am not taking part in this tour on my own so please take a look at some of the other wonderful bloggers taking part!
Immediately I enjoyed the symbolism and imagery that came through the pages of 'Call Me Joe', the authors absolutely do not hold back their imagination and perfectly combine it with the factual history and insights of both religion and science. They also did not hold back on holding humanity accountable for the destruction and breakdown of the world we know. Whilst the characters and their story progression are fictionalised they are based on the real actions of humankind and the effects it has had on our future on this planet. This combination of fictional and factual created the perfect balance of narration and with each turn of the page I was desperate to see how this rescue of humanity would play out.
I didn't connect with our main characters Sophie or Joe as much as I'd hoped. Whilst I appreciate Joe's presence on the planet was a gift to all our characters and his being there was more about his work than himself, there was something niggling inside that made me hold out for more character development or something gritty to hold onto. Sophie was initially a very strong and determined character but lost herself in the middle and her redemption toward the end felt a little too late for me. I never felt like Joe fully redeemed himself or gave me that 'WOW' moment as a character, this may be based on my lack of religious belief and not being able to fully connect to his path but his actions could often be seen as controlling and pushy.
Progression to a better way of life has been the talking point for media and the public for quite a few years now, the benefits of veganism for the environment, reduction in material values and consumerism being some of the key concerns. 'Call Me Joe' has the main take away for me of how just a small group of people can make a big change, albeit with the help of the Son of God. As a community we should and could be able to make the changes to create a better world for generations to come. I think it is daring to create a novel based on so many real events and threats with realistic resolutions, the depictions of our world leaders was not flattering and touches on the lengths they will go to silence anyone who questions their authority.
For this reason I really enjoyed this novel, it delves into places that other authors will only touch upon for story padding or as a background to their dystopian world. Van Es and Crofts very openly reveal the things we humans are scared to admit responsibility for and opens the conversation to create a turning point in rescuing ourselves and the planet. Saying this I wanted to connect more with the characters and feel more engaged with the narrative, the focus of world redemption did overtake most of the story progression and I found myself wanting to get back to the characters working through their plans instead of theorising.
'Call Me Joe' is not simply a novel for our reading and reflection but forms part of a larger project to save our planet, if you want to see more information about The Joe Project please visit the site here: https://thejoeproject.eu/
If you want to get your own copy of 'Call Me Joe', please use this link: https://thejoeproject.eu/shop/book-callmejoe