The moment just before Radar Radmanovic is born, all of the hospital’s electricity mysteriously fails. The delivery takes place in total darkness. Lights back on, the staff sees a healthy baby boy — with pitch-black skin — born to the stunned white parents. No one understands the uncanny electrical event or the unexpected skin color. “A childbirth is an explosion,” the ancient physician says by way of explanation. “Some shrapnel is inevitable, isn’t it?”
Even now, a couple of weeks after finishing it, I’m still not quite sure what to make of this book. I spent equal amounts of time enjoying it, being confused by it and wondering when on earth it would end.
Broken up into 5 parts, I Am Rader is a slightly convoluted read. Parts 1, 3 and 5 tell the main story, while parts 2 and 4 are used to introduce new main characters in the longest possible way. The first time that happened was very confusing – I wasn’t sure whether part 1 was it as far as Radar’s story goes. I was much more prepared by the time part 4 rolled around. On top of that, a fair amount of time is spent on science concepts that are well and truly beyond me – I skimmed a lot of those sections.
Plot-wise, it’s an interesting read. The whole thing is well written and easy to get through, just really long. Scattered throughout the novel are diagrams and excerpts, and I quite liked that. It really helped break the text up. I found adult-Radar’s story a bit more interesting, but the digressions of parts 2 and 4 were my favourite sections, the stories were just more engaging.
I Am Radar is far from a terrible book, but I’m not in a hurry to recommend it. If you’re up for a long, sciency/techy read, then this will be right up your alley but if the blurb doesn’t capture you, then you won’t really be missing out on anything.
I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.