The Evolution of Thomas Hall by Kieth Merrill
“Susan Cassidy’s face flushed crimson. “You have unusual talent, Mr. Hall,” she said, “but you’re wasting your talent on most of what you do. I don’t think you’ve begun to plumb the depths of your real capacity.” “Look. I appreciate your confidence in me and in my art, but, uh…” The artist searched for a delicate way to say it without crushing the prospects of seeing this woman again in a different circumstance. He smiled his charming best to soften the blow. “I’m afraid I’ve got to pass on your project.” Her look was a mixture of sadness and anger. “Have you considered the possibility you might be passing up the one project that will define who you are? Who you are destined to be?”
I thoroughly enjoyed this book! I loved the descriptions, the writing style, the characters, and the color words. I loved the color words in this book, even though I may have had to actually look up what a few of the colors were, because they were unusual and very descriptive. I liked how Thomas thought in color because he saw the world through his artist eyes. At the beginning of the book I really didn’t care for Thomas as a character. He was rude, arrogant, uncaring, and self-absorbed. As his “evolution” occurs, though, he becomes a much more likable character. There are some great characters in this book; they were each well developed and real. Susan was probably my favorite character. I thought she was classy and yet down-to-earth. I also liked Sargeant Ray Evans and thought his aspect of the story brought in a different level of depth. Even though I disliked Hawker, I thought he was well developed and I definitely would not want to work for him! Christina was such a sweetheart, and my heart just hurt for her and her circumstance. The story evolves so naturally and you see how attitudes, beliefs, and values change throughout lifetimes. This is a story of an agnostic man who experiences things in his life that open his eyes to the possibility of God. After he sees things, he can’t un-see them, and his life begins to change. I loved being able to see inside Thomas’ soul and feel his doubt, indifference, and apathy turn into something else completely.
There is some profanity in this book, but not a whole lot. In fact, I really liked what the author did. He showed the profanity by having others react to it. So you knew the character swore, but you didn’t have to read it. It was a great way to show the character without subjecting the audience to the actual language. There were some innuendos, but no “intimacy” scenes. There were a few yelling matches, but no violence other than that. I liked this book a lot and would definitely recommend it to anyone with the above warnings.
Rating: PG-13+ (Some profanity, a few innuendos, and some minor violence)
Recommendation: 16-17 and up. I think it’s still too much for my 14 year-old, but should be fine for older teen-agers.