This review is based on an advanced reader copy (with many typos) received from the author but still reflects my own opinion.
In the near future (2033), John Sinclair is facing the turning point of his life. He is one year from retirement age and has two options. He can retire and live out his life (to about 80). He can also accept “rehabilitation,” whereby he will receive treatments to extend his life to 160 and be retrained to start a new career. He has to decide soon and as his last high school teaching semester unwinds he is tasked with mentoring a new teacher named Sanchez.
Sanchez is hoping to be accepted to law school but has begun teaching to have a profession in case he doesn’t get into law school. It is hard for him being in class because students basically use on-line lessons and have minimal interaction with the teacher. Sanchez wants to make a difference during his time at school and hopes that he will be allowed to lecture, so he can help pass his own ideas onto the young minds.
The other main character is Smith, a school janitor who is also in his last year before possible rehabilitation. Smith loves the opera and to brew his own tea from his electric samovar. He pines after Helen, a fellow janitor and a very “mysterious” personality. All the while he has to cope with Rubio, his abusive boss.
The book shows how the teaching profession morphed from a thing of honor, to a profession that the government would throw anyone into just to have teachers. Sinclair has mostly liked his role as a teacher and is not sure if he will be able to learn a new career. He is estranged from his wife (who has apparently left him to take a job in Japan) and spends his free time trying to repair an old motorbike. The early treatments of his rehabilitation have given him a lot more energy and he keeps remembering the woman he was in love with before he met his wife.
There seem to be a lot of similarities between the government’s rehabilitation program and the current mandated universal health care. It is told to Sinclair that once the country voted to have rehabilitation, their constitutional rights were voided. (it should be noted that in this future world guns are illegal).
I generally liked this book and it was a very fast read. Sinclair’s character is very likable (he seems that the type of high school teacher everyone wishes they had) and the reader really feels his frustration over his impending decisions and his sadness over the love he had lost. Sanchez also faces tough decisions and he has to decide if teaching is really the profession he wants or should he do what his husband wants him to do. The typos were sometimes annoying and they sometimes made me pause and reread some sentences to figure out what they were saying. Hopefully, all is corrected with the finished copy.
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The Golden Years Can Be a Killer! In 2033, every senior citizen is offered a second chance and a second career. At 65, John Sinclair, a life-long teacher, faces two choices—a second career or permanent retirement and early death. The state will pay for his genetic rehabilitation, university education, and an extended life span of 160 years. It’s guaranteed! All Sinclair has to do is to mentor his young apprentice, commit to a new career, and avoid any dealings with a daft and spiteful school janitor, Fernando Smith. Like all incredible offers, Sinclair’s new career comes with a toxic price tag. The question is—is he willing to pay?