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The Man in the Box

Average Rating 4.5
( 5 )
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  • Posted December 5, 2012

    Who Is ¿The Man In The Box¿? I just finished reading Andrew Toy¿

    Who Is “The Man In The Box”?
    I just finished reading Andrew Toy’s new ebook, The Man In The Box. I got my copy over a month back, but saved it for when I was on vacation so I could read uninterrupted. And I was not disappointed—I finished it in a day. I had a hard time putting it down.
    But since then, I’ve been having a hard time figuring out, “How do I write a review? What do I say?” The fantasy portion reminds me of Alice in Wonderland, The Chronicles of Narnia, George MacDonald’s Curdie books, though not as intensely fantastic. It reads like a Pixar script (and I know Andrew is a big fan of Pixar movies, so this is intended as a compliment).
    The plot revolves around Robbie Lake, just laid off from a 11-year job perfectly suited for him (a book editor). While involved in a less-than-honorable enterprise, he hurriedly has to hide in a large box, and inadvertently finds himself in an alternate world, one he had created as a child. It has since evolved into something more sinister, darker, and, he discovers, on the verge of extinction. Some of the characters there tell him it is prophesied that he will come back and save them. But the more time he spends there, the more difficult it becomes to navigate both worlds, since he can’t do both at the same time. And therein lies his dilemma: He would love to save his fantasy world and become its hero/god, and attempts to spend as much time there as possible, but reality and duty keep calling him back to the one he knows is really real, which includes his wife, his 7-year-old son, his 15-year-old daughter, and before it’s over, his father. So he has to make choices, and ultimately, he knows, it will come down to The Choice.
    If Robbie were older, I’d say he’s having a mid-life crisis. But the more I think about it, the less I like that simplification. There is more universality here. Robbie comes close to being an archetypal figure. He is Everyman, and his box is everyone’s “box.” Robbie is Willy Loman. Robbie is Jean Valjean. He is Bunyan’s “Christian.” He is Jekyll and Hyde, or Dumas’ Man In The Iron Mask, or Luke Skywalker fighting himself in the cave or struggling to deal with the truth about his father, or Frodo with the ring. He is a type of our fear and our faith fighting each other. And ultimately one must win.
    We all feel boxed in at times in our lives. How do we handle it? One good way is vicariously. Whether or not the characters make the right or the best choices, we can, through books and movies, experience a simulated “box” and ask ourselves how we would deal with the same situation. And sometimes, just sometimes, we can take lessons back that help us deal with our own real-life boxes.
    Andrew’s book is out now. Check it out. And you can even preview the first few chapters free on his blog “Adopting James” on WordPress. While you’re there, why not check out why he named his blog what he did, and why he writes? You might decide to buy a copy, or one (or more) for family and friends!
    NOTE: Andrew provided a free copy of this ebook for the purposes of review prior to release.

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  • Posted December 3, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    The Man in the Box by Andrew Toy is about Robbie Lake, a middle-

    The Man in the Box by Andrew Toy is about Robbie Lake, a middle-aged man who finds a box that sends him to a fantasy world that he created as a child. When Robbie is fired from his job of 11 years, he is at a loss of what to do next. This comes on the heels of yet another blowout with his teenaged daughter and another cold shoulder encounter with his distant young son. Robbie doesn't know his family and they're not quick to welcome him either after he's fired due to layoffs. Only his wife Rosalynn keeps everything together for him and the family.

    When Robbie discovers this "magical" box, he enters a world called Reveloin where he is the long lost "god" that everyone has been waiting for. He is strong and fast and cunning--opposite to how he feels in the real world. Robbie only needs to sit on his throne in Reveloin to take power and reign supreme; if only he didn't have to come back to reality do mundane tasks like apply for jobs and pick the kids up from school.

    This was a heart-stopping suspense adventure like I haven't read in a long time. The author does a great job of interfusing light humor with the intense action moments--and there are a lot of them. From battling dinosaurs to ghost-demons, I was always anxious for Robbie and wondered how he would make it out of the danger. Now that is building suspense when you're wondering how a character could ever get out of his predicament even though you know he has to.

    Robbie is a likeable character. When I first started the book, I thought that Steve Carell could play this part. However, as the story progressed into more action, I began to wonder. But Robbie's sense of humor at the irony of some of his adventures could still work for Carell as evidenced by the action in the movie Get Smart. However, I'm not saying this book is anything like Get Smart. It is a really original book with relatable characters.

    Robbie created this fantasy world as a child. He was the hero in all his whimsical and "safe" adventures, but in his absence the world has become a dark and horrifying place for the characters he created. The more Robbie is drawn into Reveloin, the less he participates in his own reality. His family and responsibilities seem more like a burden to him. But when circumstances make him realize his real life is more important, his characters don't seem to like that idea too much.

    As an author, I have found myself lost in the worlds I've created, sacrificing bathroom breaks or even eating to get that much farther into my story. When I have to stop, it does seem like my characters continue to talk to me and call me back. This is the feeling of The Man in the Box.

    This is certainly a well-done adventure, suspense with a little fantasy. There are some really interesting concepts in the book that work really well like Robbie's amnesia while in Reveloin. I also appreciate that Robbie asks the questions that the reader wonders about as well.

    Be advised that there are some gruesome parts in it, but nothing that lingered enough to stop me from reading. I gave it 4.9 stars out of 5 because there is a comment that offended me toward the beginning of the book. However, I kept reading because the story was so engaging and this was just a passing comment by Steve the security guard that I didn't understand the significance of and thought could have been stricken from the book entirely. With that said, I highly recommend this book.

    Reviewed by Cherese Vines

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  • Posted November 30, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Very Suspenseful!

    Wow, wow, wow! My copy came in earlier than expected, and after reading a few reviews on this book, I couldn't help but get started right away. I think it's the first time I've finished a book in one day. It's a little slow at first - the author takes his time setting up the story, but by the middle of the book, there's no going back!! I felt like I was on a rocket shooting full blast into adventure, fantasy, suspense... EVERYTHING I want in a book! There are some funny parts, and I even got a little emotional once in a while. It gets pretty violent (gory) in the end, but it's not useless... it's there for a reason. And the ending... Wow! I never would have thought of it myself. When things are still spiraling out of control with just a couple of pages left ... I must have had my nose just inches from the book, trying to keep stable. One of the best fictional books I've read in a LOOOONG time! It's lots of fun and it's got something for everyone. I will be very disappointed if it isn't made into a movie soon. (I can totally see Steve Carrell from The Office playing Robbie Lake.) Do yourself a favor and READ THIS BOOK!! Thanks.

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