M’s drunk review of The Mirror Man by Jane Gilmartin
What I drank prior: Still going, but so far two Oktoberfest beers at a local beer garden and now onto wine. The LO is asleep so gettin’ it in now.
Meet Jeremiah Adams. There are two of him.
The offer is too tempting: be part of a scientific breakthrough, step out of his life for a year, and be paid hugely for it. When ViGen Pharmaceuticals asks Jeremiah to be part of an illegal cloning experiment, he sees it as a break from an existence he feels disconnected from. No one will know he’s been replaced—not the son who ignores him, not his increasingly distant wife—since a revolutionary drug called Meld can transfer his consciousness and memories to his copy.
From a luxurious apartment, he watches the clone navigate his day-to-day life. But soon Jeremiah discovers that examining himself from an outsider’s perspective isn’t what he thought it would be, and he watches in horror as “his” life spirals out of control. ViGen needs the experiment to succeed—they won’t call it off, and are prepared to remove any obstacle. With his family in danger, Jeremiah needs to finally find the courage to face himself head-on.
My Summary: A fairly boring guy takes the chance of a lifetime to take a break for one year of his life and replace himself with a clone for the good of science. Didn’t quite think it through. Things start to go poorly and he begins to second-guess his decisions.
Spoiler-free Thoughts: Honestly this book gave me a lot to think about. I did not—repeat did not—really like any of the characters here, but I definitely vibed with the overall message. The author had a lot of good things here but the end wrapped up too nicely for my liking considering all that happened. And a lot happened. Also, that dude was so boring. I think it could have been more fun for him to be less of a boring ass dude than if he was more of a villain.
Characters: Jeremiah, the main character and cloned person, is a middle-age white dude (my reading, not confirmed) who has easily failed up his whole life. No one is going to be surprised, but I did not like this dude. In some ways, I think I’d like him better if he actually embraced the reasons he got into this whole mess. Like, why is this coward of all people giving lectures on morality? Geez.
Which brings me to the rest of the company “men.” As part of his on-boarding crew and handlers so-to-speak, we have Drs. Pike, Scott, and Young. I personally loved these characters, and their motivations, the most. That’s not to say you actually meet them more than whatever Jeremiah has to think about them, but I saw (or read into) them as multilayered characters that have a clear goal in mind.
Finally, you have Jeremiah’s family. The person we got to know best was his mother—she seemed like a good lady who did what was best for her son. Then his son, Parker, was idk just a normal teen. Nothing to really root for or against, besides his dad being as interesting as paper. Then Diana… um existed? She was fairly fridged.
Plot: So Jeremiah works PR for a pharm company though clearly has former dreams of being a journalist, I guess? Either way, when he is approached as a company man for the opportunity to not only be cloned but also to watch said clone for a year before he can re-enter his life. Oh, and he gets like $10M. He jumps at the chance without thinking twice.
Shortly after, he starts asking questions—ones he should have clearly asked before accepting the offer, right? But whatever so he’s just kind of being a buzzkill for this scientific breakthrough that could be used for evil because duh. And things start to go poorly because he actually didn’t have that great of a life, misses his fam (but only kinda), and the company is trying to do their thing regardless of how he feels. Because of course they are.
Then there’s like a few side plots that don’t lead anywhere. Here are a few: (1) Infidelity of one or more characters, (2) schizophrenia and history of family mental illness, (3) the Meld, a scientific breakthrough that leads (or doesn’t? no one knows) to mass suicide, (4) shady government involvement in said project.
World Building: There were a lot of good ideas here! Like, I loved the premise and the questions around the morality of cloning. And how far a person is willing to go for immortality. And how this type of thing could be easily abused. And a history of mental illness and the toll fear of that could take on the psyche. Unfortunately, it didn’t go quite far enough and, in my opinion, picked the wrong main character.
TL;DR: Boring dude but interesting premise!
Drink Pairing: Double vodka soda on the rocks
Rating: 3/5 shots