Sunday, April 19, 2020

Mitch Albom's "Human Touch" project: a serialized novel attempts to raise money for charity


I did visit Mitch Albom’s book site, called “Human Touch” and read the first chapter, and did a donation to a Detroit charity.
  
The book seems to comprise maybe eight chapter, with each chapter having several “weeks”, each rather like a scene in a screenplay.
  
Readers may return weekly and read the next chapter.


The novel follows the pattern of some Nineteenth Century English novels that were published in installments in magazines.  Many readers got quite captivated in those days, especially by Dickens, with ordinary people like them as characters, to find out what happened to each person.

Between each week an illustration will open up, sometimes a photo.  That sort of artistic style was common in reading texts in grade school back in the 1950s.  You wanted the pages to have a lot of pictures then. I don't know if this was done with Wordpress and a specialized theme for this kind of use. 
  
The narrative centers at first around a little boy, his mother who is a housekeeper, and various other families and church members they interact with. In chapter 1, they learn of rumors of a new virus, and of events being canceled, and don’t have the intellect to process this the way people in the media would. But close knit families have a culture where they protect one another from germs (sometimes requiring personal fastidiousness) which is not as common with educated city people. The text refers to the city of Flint, which has had the water quality crisis with lead levels, along with official neglect.
  
This is certainly a challenging way for a writer to raise money for charities during a troubling time of need. My own material doesn’t really lend itself to this.  I suppose more conventional (character based) science fiction could.  Say, a story is set in an O’Neill Cylinder in the future.  But how many perspective readers would know what that is.  

Picture: Comerica Park in Detroit, my visit, 2012 

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