Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Novella Review: Outspoken by James Vachowski

Outspoken by James Vachowski

Format: Kindle Edition
File Size: 156 KB
Language: English
Source: Provided by author in exchange for a honest review
Cover: I like that this cover leaves the speaker ambiguous as it really works well with the story. I'm not sure this one would grab me on a shelf but it is boy-friendly and this is very much a boy novella.
First Sentence: "The day after Thanksgiving is the busiest shopping day of the year."

Novella Summary:

Abraham Lincoln Jenkins is a teenage vandal, social activist, and aspiring revolutionary, but with only four months left until his high school graduation Abraham’s lifelong dream of attending Harvard College is put in jeopardy when he learns that he is still in need of two core credit hours in Physical Education. Unfortunately for Abraham, the only available spaces in a P.E. class are as a cadet in the Army’s JROTC program! 

Told almost exclusively through Abraham’s one-sided complaint letters, OUTSPOKEN is the natural result when the War on Terror collides with the War on Christmas.
OUTSPOKEN is a digital short at >18,000 and is a fast and funny read for both teens and adults.

I'll prefix this by saying this isn't going to be a normal review because this is a novella and therefore, it needs to be looked at a bit differently.

I can honestly say that I had no idea what I should expect when I opened this file. What awaited me was a slightly sarcastic, very intelligent and driven young character with a voice. Told in letter form through multiple people, Outspoken is truly trying to show us the difference between Abraham''s point of view and the rest of the small town he lives in. Though mainly Abraham's correspondence with everyone else in his small town, the other letters really do work to serve as counterarguments for him and allow us to see how his opinion vary from everyone else.

At times incredibly driven and others arrogant, Abraham isn't what I'd call a likable characters. He's opinionated, disrespectful to authority figures and generally sees himself better than everyone around him, but often times with good reason. He refuses to allow the authority figures stereotype him. Yes, he goes to a really bad school and yes, he works at McDonalds but those aren't the end terms goals and he knows it. He just chooses to see his time there as floater for his real life. Even though his condescending tone could be a bit much, I still rooted for him and the ending, though I was pretty sure i knew what was coming, was intensely satisfying. I enjoyed watching Abraham finally make the break away that he craved and was glad to see him thriving elsewhere.

Outspoken felt like something I might have been assigned to read in school to learn a point and it is one of those things that had I read it, I would have enjoyed and remembered it. The quotes at the beginning of every letter really helped provide the author's voice or thoughts on the next letter. Fun and witty, with an ability to make the pages fly by, Outspoken is an easy and enjoyable read.

But don't take my word for. The honorable Abraham Lincoln Jenkins has written in to tell you about his story in his own words:

Dear Esteemed Readers of this Weblog (as I am sure there must be more than three of you out there, let me apologize for not personally addressing this salutation),
                I would like to express my gratitude to Miss Amber Mitchell for consenting to review OUTSPOKEN and offering her commentary on my harrowing journey through the gears of the war machine that is the United States Army.  It is truly an honor to be held in comparison to such iconic Young Adult literary characters such as, but not limited to, Huckleberry Finn, Holden Caulfield, and that shirtless vampire from the Twilight series.      
                OUTSPOKEN is my own personal war story, the tale of how I narrowly survived one semester of JROTC at my dear old alma mater, Burke High School.  Although my current course load of pre-law studies at Harvard College has not yet afforded me time to actually purchase, download and read the e-book, I am told that it is magnificent despite the author’s marginal abilities. 
                Although certain members of the local, state, and federal law enforcement communities might have expected me to use the platform of a guest post to lash out against certain topics of significance such as first-world imperialism or institutionalized racism, I would instead to choose to leave you with one brief thought of both literary and economic import:
                OUTSPOKEN is available for download now, at only ninety-nine cents the copy.
Very respectfully,
Abraham L. Jenkins

Outspoken on Goodreads
Outspoken on Amazon
James Vachowski


  1. Thanks for the review. And I have to say, I love your layout. So cute!

  2. Amber, thanks again for taking the time to review OUTSPOKEN!

  3. Just stopping in to spread the word that OUTSPOKEN will be available in a print edition within the next few weeks. Thanks again for all the support over the past year-- the response has been overwhelming!


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