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From the Publisher
“The world does not make sense. Never has, never will. I know from experience that we live through a random sequence of events and then we die.” So says sixteen-year-old Joseph Campbell, a seemingly ordinary teen boy whose adoptive father gives him a digital recorder so he can tell his story. It is to function as a digital story of sorts, a place for him to record random musings about himself and his life. And thus we learn his story. It is the story of a boy who questions many things about the nature of life and the universe. It is also the story of a boy who is still reeling from the life-changing event that took place when he was twelve. This event was the tragic death of his birth parents in a car accident, a random occurrence that altered Joseph’s existence and dramatically shaped his view of the word. This story is not primarily about that singular event, and yet that event is at the very heart of Joseph’s story.
As he records his thoughts and recollections, Joseph talks about his daily life: his new parents, Will and Beth, who are kind and caring yet give him lots of space to be himself; his best friends Gloria and Dean who are both struggling with heavy issues of their own; and his take on life and its utter lack of meaning. He tries to support Gloria and Dean through their respective crises, to be a good friend to them and in the process he ultimately comes face-to-face with his own personal demons. As he finally begins to confront some of the painful spectres that continue to haunt him from that fateful night when he was twelve and his life changed forever, he begins to develop new theories about the paradoxical, always perplexing nature of reality.
In Joseph, Lesley Choyce gives readers a thoughtful, questioning narrator who asserts from the very beginning that he believes that life has no meaning and yet who is clearly searching for that very meaning. Although the death of his biological parents was the traumatic event that most evidently shaped his life thus far, the book manages to avoid the drama and angst that one might have expected. Instead, Choyce offers readers the opportunity to follow Joseph through the mundane ordinary events of his life, past and present, and to witness the realizations that he comes to through the course of his journey. It is a book that will hold the greatest appeal for more philosophical-minded teens and those who also find themselves asking big questions.
—Lisa Doucet -Atlantic Books Today
Praise for Living Outside the Lines:
"Lesley Choyce offers teen readers a tantalizing vision of the future that raises many challenging and thought-provoking questions in this book that is both highly engaging and easily accessible. . . Readers will be intrigued by the ideas that Nigel brings forth in his novel, and by the dystopian vision of our world that this novel provides. It is a book that will undoubtedly give readers pause for thought."
-- Atlantic Books Today