Trudy Knowles

Westfield, MA

Retired professor. Five kids. Four grandkids. Author of The Kids Behind the Label: An Inside Look at ADHD for Classroom Teachers. Co-author of What Every Middle School Teacher Should Know

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DEAD OR ALIVE offers an interesting and unique look at numerous existential questions. What is real and what is fantasy? Are we dreaming or is this real? If given a chance, would we relive our lives? What would we do for love? Are we scared of growing old?

There are some interesting ideas that emerge from the novel. For example: If we had no dreams we would be forced to confront reality and be able to create and grow. On the other hand, people need their dreams. I love the line, “Imagine, dreams and the persons within the dreams becoming real.”

There is a love story intertwined in this fantasy. The protagonist realizes he needs people in his life to make it meaningful.

Scenes are vivid but at times move from one to another without being developed completely or advancing the plot (I’m thinking of the scene when they are surfing). Sometimes the transitions from one scene to the next are too quick. (For example: the slide to chaos and violence comes very quickly – it could use more development).

The writer has a good first draft but could use editing to look for sentence structure, use of capital letters, punctuation and spelling, use of numerals instead of the written words for numbers, etc. (Example: The sentence, “Parker and I finished the Whiskey, and slurred out the words, “let’s go Clowns, off to the cemetery.”)

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