THE LITTLE VOICE: A REBELLIOUS NOVEL, BY JOSS SHELDON
PUBLICATION: NOVEMBER 23, 2016
Synopsis: Dear reader,
My character has been shaped by two opposing forces; the pressure to conform to social norms, and the pressure to be true to myself. To be honest with you, these forces have really torn me apart. They’ve pulled me one way and then the other. At times, they’ve left me questioning my whole entire existence.
But please don’t think that I’m angry or morose. I’m not. Because through adversity comes knowledge. I’ve suffered, it’s true. But I’ve learnt from my pain. I’ve become a better person.
Now, for the first time, I’m ready to tell my story. Perhaps it will inspire you. Perhaps it will encourage you to think in a whole new way. Perhaps it won’t. There’s only one way to find out…
Enjoy the book,
This is probably one of the most challenging reviews I’ve ever written, but let me give it a try! This was an odd read that was full of things that I loved and hated, however, I’m at a loss about whether I liked it, loved it, hated it, or indifferent – if that makes sense.
The Little Voice is about a young boy named Yew, whom we meet when he is 6 years old. Yew has accepted the fact that a little creature named the Egot lives inside of his head, but one day when Yew is 6, the Egot speaks to Yew for the first time. The best way to describe the Egot would be the analogy of an angel on one shoulder and the devil on your other. Egot really isn’t evil, but strongly encourages Yew to do things that lead to negative consequences. For example, when Yew is following the rules at school and doing as he’s told, Egot convinces Yew that he would have much more fun doing this, or that he would feel free if he did that – which typically were things that landed Yew in trouble. The majority of his youth and adolescence he chooses to conform and do as he’s told, but then in adulthood, he starts behaving again as he had when the Egot would tell him what to do, although the Egot had died. Yew then goes through several ups and downs, finally finding some sort of peace.
For the majority of this novel, I just kept asking myself what made this a unique or different story. A child battling between whether to do good and be rewarded or to do bad and be punished is not a new or different concept. The Egot living in his head was quite different and creative, although I’m torn about whether that was just amplifying a child’s overactive imagination or a true sign of mental illness. I felt like the author was personally supportive of non-conforming behaviors, although he clearly recognized and stated the potential negative outcomes. So what was the lesson? Be good and behave within the realm of societal norms but you may not be happy, or be “free” and do as you please but suffer personal/professional/legal/health consequences? I honestly don’t know which point the author was trying to make if, in fact, he does have a strong opinion one way or the other. However, I completely dispute the notion that one can’t lead a happy and fulfilling life because they choose to conduct themselves in a way considered acceptable by society. Moreover, who is to say you can’t be happy living a life acting against societal norms and expectations? I suppose it depends on the individual person and how they define “happiness.”
The Little Voice is filled with bits of history of psychology, tests, and theories – but at times they became tedious to get through. But that could also be that I was a psych major and have worked in special education and in mental health, so it wasn’t new information. I did really enjoy Joss Sheldon’s writing, finding it an easy to read but high-level prose, even when I didn’t agree with what I was reading. I don’t think there is anything groundbreaking or really “rebellious” about the novel, but fans of more obscure plots and themes may really enjoy this novel. An overall summation would be recognizing right and wrong and choosing which path to follow. Although this is a universal theme that the majority of people have had to struggle with, the author made it seem as if Yew was special in some way to be facing this battle, although I’m not sure why.
*Thanks to the author for providing a copy of this novel in exchange for my honest review.
Learn more about Joss Sheldon by visiting his web page.
Purchase The Little Voice on Amazon.