“Do Not Resuscitate” by Nicholas Ponticello is a fun and fantastic novel structured as the journal, or possibly the autobiography of Jim Frost. Jim is writing the journal for his family in case his daughter’s plan to download his brain onto a microchip fails. The book deals with multiple issues such as technology, the failing American dream, family, life, death, and the possibility of immortality, the latter being the main focus of the book. Jim begins his journal by recalling his time as a carrier working for the very sketchy Happy Happy Happy Message Runners, Inc. Jim’s experiences with the company help to move the story forward while giving Jim time to ramble on about his family’s successes and failures, as well as current cultural and social issues. Technology also plays a part in the telling of the story but it is unnecessarily overbearing. Ponticello uses Jim and the setting to explore life and death as we know it, how technology is changing our perspective of both, and also the world around us.
Ponticello creates a fun, fast read that is set in a slightly futuristic world where America is no longer a super power and where technology may soon allow for some form of immortality. Ponticello does not spend a lot of time exploring the setting of his book as there is not much needed since it is relatively similar to the world we currently live in. He does do a good job of leveraging historical events, issues, and technologies that currently exist in ways that help make the setting more real. Jim, on the other hand, is a fully developed character and, as the narrator, his stream of consciousness first-person perspective makes the book. The other characters are not as flushed out. This seems to be a conscious decision on Ponticello’s part which allows him to write an awesome first-person narrative that moves quickly and is believable enough.
I really enjoyed Ponticello’s writing style and found the book to be a very impressive first book. “Do Not Resuscitate” is a fun, fast read that I devoured cover-to-cover in about three sittings. Instead of taking a “hippy-dippy”, deeply philosophical approach to life, death, or immortality, it takes a witty and fun approach that does not bore or annoy the reader. Too often authors, especially first-timers, try to tackle such large issues in self-indulging ways that leave the reader wondering what the heck they just read. Ponticello instead focuses on just writing a good story that happens to involve deep issues. Ponticello’s style is like a wholesome Palahniuk or less trippy Vonnegut.
Overall I found “Do Not Resuscitate” to be an excellent read and cannot wait for Nicholas Ponticello’s next book. In the meantime I will have to check out his online comic “Simply Nick.”