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In the United States, in the not-too-distant future, Americans are focused on one thing to the exclusion of all else: self-maximization. Every aspect of life which impedes the pursuit of Maximization is pushed aside, including the raising of children. Within one week of birth, all children are permanently turned over to professional child-rearing experts - Proxies - to be In the United States, in the not-too-distant future, Americans are focused on one thing to the exclusion of all else: self-maximization. Every aspect of life which impedes the pursuit of Maximization is pushed aside, including the raising of children. Within one week of birth, all children are permanently turned over to professional child-rearing experts - Proxies - to be raised, educated and cultivated. Chase Stern, a Proxy Review Officer tasked with the regulation of the Proxy Industry, is plagued by guilt - the consequence of his own dogged pursuit of Maximization. Seeking redemption, he has pledged his life to save the lost but dangerous youth of the Deep Suburbs - the poverty-stricken and crime-ridden majority of society located far from the wealthy, civilized Inner Cities. When Chase uncovers widespread child abuse, the Government is forced to admit failure and shut down the Proxy Industry. All children under the age of eighteen are sent to a remote facility to be indoctrinated and reprogrammed to populate a new, functional society. Three years later, the first group of "children" return very much changed....


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In the United States, in the not-too-distant future, Americans are focused on one thing to the exclusion of all else: self-maximization. Every aspect of life which impedes the pursuit of Maximization is pushed aside, including the raising of children. Within one week of birth, all children are permanently turned over to professional child-rearing experts - Proxies - to be In the United States, in the not-too-distant future, Americans are focused on one thing to the exclusion of all else: self-maximization. Every aspect of life which impedes the pursuit of Maximization is pushed aside, including the raising of children. Within one week of birth, all children are permanently turned over to professional child-rearing experts - Proxies - to be raised, educated and cultivated. Chase Stern, a Proxy Review Officer tasked with the regulation of the Proxy Industry, is plagued by guilt - the consequence of his own dogged pursuit of Maximization. Seeking redemption, he has pledged his life to save the lost but dangerous youth of the Deep Suburbs - the poverty-stricken and crime-ridden majority of society located far from the wealthy, civilized Inner Cities. When Chase uncovers widespread child abuse, the Government is forced to admit failure and shut down the Proxy Industry. All children under the age of eighteen are sent to a remote facility to be indoctrinated and reprogrammed to populate a new, functional society. Three years later, the first group of "children" return very much changed....

30 review for Provoke Not The Children

  1. 5 out of 5

    D.S. McKnight

    I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Michael W. Anderson's Provoke Not the Children is nothing short of compelling. The author uses words the way an artist applies color - painting scenes with such detail that I caught myself imagining how it would look on the big screen and what A-list actor would portray the main character. The story is suspenseful and moves at a quick pace. The characters are well developed. When it comes to the main character (Chase Stern), Anderso I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Michael W. Anderson's Provoke Not the Children is nothing short of compelling. The author uses words the way an artist applies color - painting scenes with such detail that I caught myself imagining how it would look on the big screen and what A-list actor would portray the main character. The story is suspenseful and moves at a quick pace. The characters are well developed. When it comes to the main character (Chase Stern), Anderson introduces us to an individual who is haunted by the choices he's made in life. His flaws and regrets make it easy to relate to him. Provoke Not the Children requires the reader to consider the cost of a society that places self above all else. It is perfect for a book club discussion.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Courtney Wells

    - I received this novel as an ARC from the author, with no expectations or incentive apart from an honest, fair review. - A mature premise with savvy storytelling, the personable narration of PROVOKE NOT THE CHILDREN immerses the reader early on. Its protagonist, Chase, drives the plot with his disdain for a broken system, his uphill battle to see it reformed and the repercussions he endures as a result of that compassion. His voice and values provides a wonderful audience surrogate as well as th - I received this novel as an ARC from the author, with no expectations or incentive apart from an honest, fair review. - A mature premise with savvy storytelling, the personable narration of PROVOKE NOT THE CHILDREN immerses the reader early on. Its protagonist, Chase, drives the plot with his disdain for a broken system, his uphill battle to see it reformed and the repercussions he endures as a result of that compassion. His voice and values provides a wonderful audience surrogate as well as the "one sane man" at times throughout the novel. Chase is a do-gooder and an underdog in action but also a hero in terms of integrity and sacrifice - a combination I found both endearing and redeeming for a story saturated with hollow, decrepit values. Although the novel is centered on the welfare management of children PROVOKE is told from an adult's perspective and shouldn't be mistaken for YA fiction. Much of the novel's action involves political and bureaucratic maneuvering that could categorize it as speculative fiction with some dystopian elements always in the reader's peripheral vision. "Maximization" is the catalyst for much of the story's strife, which advocates individualism and personal perfection until an ego-centric society emerges. Accolades and materialism become paramount notions that are virtually interchangeable with society's definition "happiness". Such "virtues" are hindered by conventional child-rearing, thus the mandatory insertion of a Proxy parenting system that redefines family values and youth culture in unnerving ways. I'm tempted to call PROVOKE NOT THE CHILDREN a "high-functioning" dystopia because the society showcased lacks the trademark tyranny or violent oppression common within the genre but does emphasize dysfunctional upbringings and self-centered prioritizing to the point of disturbing consequence. I found myself sincerely frustrated and periodically outraged over the obliviousness and egotism of the mature adults, which instills a brilliant subtext of how childish and irresponsible successful grownups can be. A perfect example to illustrate this comes from the non-spoiler exchange: "Maria, just be open-minded for one minute." "No." In respects to author Michael W. Anderson's style, PROVOKE NOT THE CHILDREN is obviously the product of meticulous execution and scrutinizing thought. Anderson is a knowledgeable, authoritative writer who can establish a character or scene with a few well-employed words. If given the right opportunity and audience, Anderson has a voice for storytelling that could lead him either to critical acclaim or mainstream success. Anderson is not the sort of novelist destined for obscurity and I look forward to him inevitably receiving the recognition his writing warrants - if not demands - from this book or future stories.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Jola

    I was skeptical about this book for the first couple of chapters but when the author started to explaining how the world he build works, I was hooked. The vision Michael W. Anderson presented is horrifying, it shows us what would happen if people only cared about themselves, not for other people, including their families and children. The main character, Chase Stern, is a man driven mostly by the wrong things he did in the past and he tries to help the society which don't always ends up good for I was skeptical about this book for the first couple of chapters but when the author started to explaining how the world he build works, I was hooked. The vision Michael W. Anderson presented is horrifying, it shows us what would happen if people only cared about themselves, not for other people, including their families and children. The main character, Chase Stern, is a man driven mostly by the wrong things he did in the past and he tries to help the society which don't always ends up good for him. I was very shocked by the ending but I think it was a brilliant move to end Chase's story this way. This is a really good book and I will read other books written by mr. Anderson surely! Thanks for sending me a free copy from the Making Connections group.

  4. 4 out of 5

    J.M. Johnson

    Michael Anderson drew me in with the premise of his novel and his writing more than does justice to his tale. I was grabbed into the story right away and the pacing kept me interested throughout. The main character, Chase Stern, is well developed and the revelation of his past more than justified his drive for action in the present. Overall, this story hooked me right away, kept me interested, taught me a thing or two along the way, and is very well written. One of my favorite lines is, “wrong i Michael Anderson drew me in with the premise of his novel and his writing more than does justice to his tale. I was grabbed into the story right away and the pacing kept me interested throughout. The main character, Chase Stern, is well developed and the revelation of his past more than justified his drive for action in the present. Overall, this story hooked me right away, kept me interested, taught me a thing or two along the way, and is very well written. One of my favorite lines is, “wrong is wrong. I can’t worry about the consequences of doing the right thing.” I can’t wait to see more of Anderson’s writing in the future.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Hobart

    This originally appeared at The Irresponsible Reader. --- Some dystopian futures seem plausible -- even inevitable -- 1984, The Hunger Games; while others seem impossible -- Divergent, Red Rising. Anderson's world is possibly the most plausible I've read. In this future U. S., parents are no longer responsible for the day-to-day raising, nurturing, or educating of their children (they are still responsible for paying for all that). Instead, they entrust their children to the care of Proxies. Proxie This originally appeared at The Irresponsible Reader. --- Some dystopian futures seem plausible -- even inevitable -- 1984, The Hunger Games; while others seem impossible -- Divergent, Red Rising. Anderson's world is possibly the most plausible I've read. In this future U. S., parents are no longer responsible for the day-to-day raising, nurturing, or educating of their children (they are still responsible for paying for all that). Instead, they entrust their children to the care of Proxies. Proxies are professional child-raisers. The idea is that these people know exactly what an individual child needs for full academic, social, psychological and physical progress and health, and are far better suited to ensuring children receive this care than an y parent could hope to. So after years and years of more and more parents turning to this option, it becomes mandatory for all children in the U. S. to be handed over to the professionals. What do parents do with all this time they're not, you know, parenting? Why, they're making themselves the best possible versions of themselves that they can. Kids just get in the way of paying attention to yourself, your career, your well-being, and so on. (other than having someone to show off at parties and to inherit what you have left, I'm not sure what the point is to having kids in this world -- but let's just assume the biological imperatives win out or something.) Now, with a government mandate of this size, regulations are going to come into play. And where there are regulations, you need people to enforce them. Enter our hero, Chase Stern. Chase is a Proxy Review Officer -- he travels the Northwest working to make sure that children are being cared for by Proxies, and that the Proxies are doing things right. Naturally, not all are. In fact, there's a very disturbing number of Proxies getting away with fraud, abuse, and neglect. Chase blows the proverbial whistle on this unpleasant truth and is first publicly pilloried for this, but that soon turns into the opportunity for Chase to be part of the reforms of the Proxy Industry. The cure proposed may turn out to be worse for society as a whole, and the children in particular, than the disease. Great premise, right? Hard to go wrong with a setup like that. And yet, Anderson doesn't quite pull it off. He's close. I don't think he was ready to write characters and a story to go with ideas this big quite yet. The pacing was strange at times, and I think the book would've been better served if we'd gotten to see more of the process involved -- not just opening chapters with a "In the months/years since the end of the last chapter, many things happened"-type summary. Also, there's a whole lot more telling than showing going on here, his characters gave a lot of speeches. Not quite as bad as Asimov in Foundation*, but along the same lines. The biggest problem with this book is the characters. They're flat. They're not people. The novel is entirely from Chase's perspective and he comes closest to being a person. But even he's flat. There's no growth, nothing other than his crusade to reform. Yes, Chase had been the kind of parent who was in a rush to get his kids Proxied so that he could fulfill himself, and then something happens and he changes into the kind of guy who cares about the welfare of children. Whatever changes he goes through -- say, learning how to lobby congresspeople -- just appear in between chapters. That said, Maria, is one of the -- I want to say evil, but she's too shallow for that. Maria's about the most wretched, vile, hateful character I've ever read (her husband, Conrad, is about as bad -- but he does less, so maybe he's just a self-centered twit, not a force for all that is wrong with the world). There are a couple of other characters here that are more actively malicious, too. Still, they're all little more than amalgamation of characteristics. But Anderson has trouble with the white hat characters. Perhaps he understands human nature too well for that. There was a very unfortunate typo in the edition I read -- and I was taken out of the scene during the climatic confrontation. I've emailed the author and he said he'd be fixing it. That's the big advantage of self-publishing ebooks. Anton Strout, for example, tells the story about someone pointing out a similar problem in one of his fight scenes years after the publication, which will remain in the paperbacks. Anderson's error is gone. Welcome to the 21st century. Provoke Not the Children had a killer concept, and a chilling world that you'll keep thinking about for days. The story's almost, but not quite where it needs to be. I still recommend it in the end, but don't expect too much from the narrative. I expect in a book or two, Anderson's execution will match his world-building. --- * I remember that being very speech-filled, I think that's even talked about in the forward Asimov wrote in the edition I last read 20+ years ago. Hope I'm not wrong about that, it's just the best example I could come up with at the moment. Besides, being compared to Asimov in Foundation should be seen as a compliment.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Fetish Books

    This review is also posted in https://fetishforbooks.wordpress.com/... The good: 1. Very attention-grabbing synopsis, especially for a dystopian world fan like me. I like the idea of estranged, dislocated children taking over society. Some themes hit too close to home (adults prioritizing self-growth over their relationship with their kids, corruption inside the government, etc.) but are set against the backdrop of a dystopian world that is not too fantastical or far-fetched. 2. The prologue frames This review is also posted in https://fetishforbooks.wordpress.com/... The good: 1. Very attention-grabbing synopsis, especially for a dystopian world fan like me. I like the idea of estranged, dislocated children taking over society. Some themes hit too close to home (adults prioritizing self-growth over their relationship with their kids, corruption inside the government, etc.) but are set against the backdrop of a dystopian world that is not too fantastical or far-fetched. 2. The prologue frames the story well. It presents a clear picture of the United States as the land of the free. Its citizens aim to achieve self-maximization, or the "single-minded pursuit of self-improvement in order to unlock all of one's potential to accomplish and succeed as a human being." The fact that adults achieve this by eliminating a so-called great barrier is stated clearly in the second to the last line of the chapter: "It had removed its children." Chase's misgivings about the whole ordeal is evident in the following line: "I only hoped their removal would bring the fulfillment we sought." And of course, he couldn't have been more wrong. 3. Chapters Two to Six set the tension of the story and present the disadvantages of the Proxy Program. The narrative is suspenseful and action packed, and readers are given a glimpse of the ugly side of the deal—proxies maltreating their wards in exchange for monetary compensation. Chase also meets two rebel teenagers, who paint a pretty accurate image of how it is to live in the Deep Suburbs, and also foreshadow the kind of chaos that the country would soon face in the future chapters. 4. Lots of political themes, for those interested in that kind of stuff. 5. The Parts are divided by illustrations that give helpful hints of what the readers should expect in the next section of the narrative. The bad: 1. Although the opening chapters promise an action-packed suspense story, some chapters are a bit dragging. They also jump from one point to another with very little to no transitional devices (one chapter, Chase discovers a basement full of maltreated kids, the next, he's in the middle of his own children's birthday party), and it took me a while before I got used to the author's style. 2. The characters are pretty flat. Even Chase does not really "develop" into a character within the current timeline. He already experienced a sense of guilt even before the present narrative starts. It gives him motivation, true, but it also gives little wiggle room for further character growth. The other characters are not memorable either. Perhaps because the story keeps jumping from one period to another (it covers a pretty wide range of years), very few characters are given the opportunity to shine, or at least be presented differently compared to their first mention. One straight-laced character even did a complete 180 degree in the last chapter, and there is very little warning so the readers are caught off-guard. Not in the pleasant "Oooooh, I didn't see that coming" way, but more like, "Where the heck did that come from?" sort of feeling. 3. I wanted more focus on Shalom, but he ended up like a cardboard villain, which is pretty disappointing, to be honest. Okay, maybe not a cardboard villain, because he has motivation behind his actions, but they are not really given too much focus. It felt like the story took for granted the fact that the children wants to rule society to get back at the adults, because they think they can do a better job, et cetera, et cetera. 4. Marianne, Chase's ex-wife. While other people in the book are not memorable because they lack character development, Marianne is memorable exactly for the same reason. She's annoying, and although I've had my fair share of irritating gold-digging characters in other stories, Marianne pretty much beats them all. 5. The ending felt forced and rushed, like the author tried to tie up the loose ends too quickly in the last two, three pages (excluding the epilogue, which felt flat, too). The verdict: Three stars: Decent attempt, interesting idea, but a lot of chapters felt dragged on or forced. Not really impressed with the ending either. Still, if you're interested with political dystopian issues, this book is a good enough read.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Kristen Chandler

    I was given this book in exchange for an honest review. When I first received this book, I'll admit I didn't think I would love it. I knew I would like and enjoy it. But I thought it would be a book that I read, then said "Oh, well that was good", and then move onto the next book in my pile. I could not have been more wrong. If you've ever read Agenda 21 by Glenn Beck, Provoke Not the Children has similar themes. BUT it is about 20 times better. It is very fast paced, with well developed characte I was given this book in exchange for an honest review. When I first received this book, I'll admit I didn't think I would love it. I knew I would like and enjoy it. But I thought it would be a book that I read, then said "Oh, well that was good", and then move onto the next book in my pile. I could not have been more wrong. If you've ever read Agenda 21 by Glenn Beck, Provoke Not the Children has similar themes. BUT it is about 20 times better. It is very fast paced, with well developed characters. The main character, the hero, Chase Stern is a guy you can't help but love. In a world where grown ups decide that instead of raising their own children, they hire professionals or "proxies" to do it, because they are more qualified, Chase advocates for the children when no one else will. Even when they go out of control, because they have been misguided, he still fights for their protection and for them to see the error of their ways. Several other characters like Gaff, Cecilia and Chase's children were likeable and characters you want to root for. Then you have characters like Maria "Marianne" that you just want to slap in the face. I mean seriously, she was a MOTHER and she was so selfish that I wanted to jump in the book and shake her until her teeth rattled. I really like to read books that deal with dystopian worlds and "What could happen in the future". Its really interesting to see what other people think the world might look like in 20 or so years. And the way people are today, this book isn't a far cry from what could actually happen. Another thing I loved about this book was that its an incredibly decent book. Most books aimed for YA have minimal to moderate language and deal with sex, alcohol or drugs or all of the above. It was refreshing to be steered away from that. I have a friend that teaches high school English and I recommended she read and consider it for her reading list next year. So I gave this book 5 stars, and I'm stingy with my 5 star ratings. A book has to be pretty grand to get 5 stars out of me. It is tied with one other book to be the best book I've read so far in 2014. I have already recommended it to several people and continue to do so.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Paige

    Provoke Not the Children is not a type of book I read a lot of, but(as I'm sure you all must know by now) stepping out of my comfort zone is something I do practically all the time. So when I read the synopsis I was more than ready to jump straight on in. It's a speculative fiction, and takes place not too far from now in the future. Chase Stern is a Proxy Review Officer who is plagued by the choices he has made in the past. I found him to be a strongly written character which made this story al Provoke Not the Children is not a type of book I read a lot of, but(as I'm sure you all must know by now) stepping out of my comfort zone is something I do practically all the time. So when I read the synopsis I was more than ready to jump straight on in. It's a speculative fiction, and takes place not too far from now in the future. Chase Stern is a Proxy Review Officer who is plagued by the choices he has made in the past. I found him to be a strongly written character which made this story all the more fascinating. The world, too, that Michael created is equally enthralling. This book was so hard to put down, but in an almost scary way. It really made me stop and think and that is honestly the highest compliment I, myself, can ever give a book. At times, there were these parts where I actually had to stop and read a few paragraphs over not because I couldn't process them, but because I just, well, felt that I needed to read the words over again. This novel would be the perfect one for a nice book discussion or debate because it has the content that is perfect for it. Don't get me wrong, though, that aspect is not the only thing I found myself loving about the story. The entire thing was engaging and I might have been so anxious to turn the page at times that I ended ended up with a paper cut once. This world is such an interesting creation, but one that really has me wondering. Can you imagine what it feels like to pretty much only care about yourself? I honestly cannot. I'm just not built that way. The world that Anderson built, however, has me shivering. I loved the story, and I'm going to be completely honest here and say there are few people that I personally know that I wouldn't recommend it to. So, I recommend you check it out as well! *I received this book for review from the author, but this in no way affected my thoughts as expressed in this review*

  9. 5 out of 5

    Diane

    Michael Anderson put a lot of thought into the plot of Provoke Not The Children. It has an exceptional story line that delves into a dystopian lifestyle called Maximization. It is a lifestyle where individuals are to 'maximize' themselves - make as much money and gain as much status as they can. Children are raised by Proxies and visit there parents one week out of every year. Chase Stern, a PRO (proxy review officer) once had a very maximized life with a wife who told him from the start she woul Michael Anderson put a lot of thought into the plot of Provoke Not The Children. It has an exceptional story line that delves into a dystopian lifestyle called Maximization. It is a lifestyle where individuals are to 'maximize' themselves - make as much money and gain as much status as they can. Children are raised by Proxies and visit there parents one week out of every year. Chase Stern, a PRO (proxy review officer) once had a very maximized life with a wife who told him from the start she wouldn't marry him if he didn't. He became dissatisfied with that life and became what he is today - a PRO who works hard in the Deep Suburbs and sees the problems in the Proxy System. His wife divorced him and married a man who was extremely wealthy and 'Maximized.' He goes up against the most powerful industry in the country and the government to reform the system with only one or two people to help him. Chase is, I think, throughout the book is a little naive in his fight for change and it leads him into some tight spots. He really does care about the kids in the Deep Suburbs - the abuse and neglect they suffer as well as the unequal dedication of the Inner City Proxies and the Deep Suburb Proxies. Money is key to quality. His ex-wife wants him to stop. She loves Maximization and what and where it can get her. Chase is an embarrassment. She has not problem leaving their two teens to Proxies and never seeing them. Both characters are well developed and polar opposites. I wanted to strangle his ex at times - such a selfish, money and status hungry shrew. If you like dystopian novels then I highly recommend Provoke Not the Children. It is a total twist on the future that hasn't been looked at before. I received this book free from the author in exchange for a review. For more information about Michael W. Anderson check here https://www.facebook.com/Author.Micha...

  10. 5 out of 5

    Rabid Readers Reviews

    The author, Michael W. Anderson, gave me copy of this novel in exchange for my review. “Provoke Not the Children” is a shocking cautionary tale. Anderson’s future shows seeds of a start in our own world. People are increasingly self-absorbed and parenting less. Children are raising themselves and becoming more violent. The “gangs” described in this novel are brutal in a way that maybe children already are. Anderson describes ascending to the “Elite,” those people who have maximized themselves to The author, Michael W. Anderson, gave me copy of this novel in exchange for my review. “Provoke Not the Children” is a shocking cautionary tale. Anderson’s future shows seeds of a start in our own world. People are increasingly self-absorbed and parenting less. Children are raising themselves and becoming more violent. The “gangs” described in this novel are brutal in a way that maybe children already are. Anderson describes ascending to the “Elite,” those people who have maximized themselves to potential as the goal of modern life. Nothing matters but who you are and where you live. In the “Deep Suburbs”– a landscape described as bleakly dangerous where children run wild – hope is lost Chase finds a abandoned group of children kept in cages and writes the encounter in such a matter of fact way that the scene tears into the readers soul. Anderson’s writing style is fast paced and eloquent. The action he writes is economical and yet impactful. Anderson works at his plot points. You won’t find any lazy writing in “Provoke Not the Children.” Loose ends are wrapped whether you like the way they turn out or not. Anderson either did a lot of editing or instinctually knew which details to keep and cut in painting this future landscape. Readers of this review may get the idea that I liked this novel. Oh yes. It was engaging and entrancing. Part horror and part human interest story. The way that Anderson ends his novel is electrifying in its brilliance. This is an author who takes a chance and I loved it. If you’re interested in stories set in the not too distant future and like a little Orwellian flavor in your fiction, “Provoke Not the Children” is a novel to pick up today. Don’t wait. Go buy this novel immediately and let me know what you think.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Darlene Franklin

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I was drawn to this book by the title, assuming it came from the biblical instruction to parents: provoke not your children to wrath. That verse is never mentioned, but the story grows out of a terrifying scenario where that is exactly what happens. The scariest thing about this book, to me, is that I can imagine something like this happening. There's a huge leap from childcare to "proxies" and I can't quite imagine a world where parents would give birth with no intention of having part in their I was drawn to this book by the title, assuming it came from the biblical instruction to parents: provoke not your children to wrath. That verse is never mentioned, but the story grows out of a terrifying scenario where that is exactly what happens. The scariest thing about this book, to me, is that I can imagine something like this happening. There's a huge leap from childcare to "proxies" and I can't quite imagine a world where parents would give birth with no intention of having part in their children's lives. (Otherwise, why bother? Just to maintain the human species?) A well told story, with a complex character in search of redemption.

  12. 5 out of 5

    J.B. Simmons

    This book offers an intriguing glimpse into a possible future. The plot moves at a quick pace as it follows the protagonist, Chase, through his efforts to change a frightening system, and through his own personal changes. The story blends the action of a thriller with doses of politics, romance, and morality. As the title suggests, the book raises important questions about the place of children in our culture and what that means for parents and society at large. The concept of "self-maximization" This book offers an intriguing glimpse into a possible future. The plot moves at a quick pace as it follows the protagonist, Chase, through his efforts to change a frightening system, and through his own personal changes. The story blends the action of a thriller with doses of politics, romance, and morality. As the title suggests, the book raises important questions about the place of children in our culture and what that means for parents and society at large. The concept of "self-maximization" is particularly poignant. An entertaining and thought-provoking read.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Kate

    This is a frightening story that is almost possible. Let the Government take care of your children - the Government knows better than parents! Is this an example of fiction imitating life or vice versa? This is a book that everyone should read. The characters and plot are well developed. I felt that this is a possibility since the Government or other powers to be are interfering in the lives of families and trying to dictate how children should be raised - without parents, without families, with This is a frightening story that is almost possible. Let the Government take care of your children - the Government knows better than parents! Is this an example of fiction imitating life or vice versa? This is a book that everyone should read. The characters and plot are well developed. I felt that this is a possibility since the Government or other powers to be are interfering in the lives of families and trying to dictate how children should be raised - without parents, without families, without faith. Michael Anderson does a great job portraying what will happen if the family is destroyed and parents become selfish and self centered in their careers and selfish optimization! Proxies cannot take the place of parents and do not provide the love children need. Read this to see where our country might be headed!

  14. 5 out of 5

    Matt Kramer

    A well designed story about well meaning people unwittingly creating a fascist society Told in first person, Anderson's tale of a dystopian future may be a harbinger of days to come. I hope our children have the vision and courage to allow a more humane world to prevail. Bureaucracies and the revolutions they inspire exact a heavy toll.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Joan Huehnerhoff

    The premise of the story is good. But some area's need more info, so it doesn't read like the outline of a story. This is an excellent work on what happens when a segment of the population feels entitled and then becomes violent to that end. a very good social commentary.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Bob

    This was rather interesting. It is, I believe, self-published, but was pretty good quality considering. I liked the thoughts of what a society attempting to build itself on unabashed narcissism would really mean for the next generation. I think I would've preferred more of an exploration of what the society would look like as a whole, more than a story about the politics of getting the childcare apparatus of said fictional society fixed through legislation, but for what the book was intended to This was rather interesting. It is, I believe, self-published, but was pretty good quality considering. I liked the thoughts of what a society attempting to build itself on unabashed narcissism would really mean for the next generation. I think I would've preferred more of an exploration of what the society would look like as a whole, more than a story about the politics of getting the childcare apparatus of said fictional society fixed through legislation, but for what the book was intended to portray, it was thought-provoking and interesting.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Marina Bonomi

    Disclaimer: I was given a free copy by the author in exchange for an honest review ***Crossposted from 'Outside of Dogs: A Reviewer's Blog'*** In a few years' time, in the U.S.A., maximization of personal potential is everyone's duty and the main obstacle to reaching one's full level is...child rearing. Parents are required by law to hire a parent-by-proxy, a professional who, supposedly, will be better at such a specialized and delicate endeavour than amateurs who just happen to share genetic mat Disclaimer: I was given a free copy by the author in exchange for an honest review ***Crossposted from 'Outside of Dogs: A Reviewer's Blog'*** In a few years' time, in the U.S.A., maximization of personal potential is everyone's duty and the main obstacle to reaching one's full level is...child rearing. Parents are required by law to hire a parent-by-proxy, a professional who, supposedly, will be better at such a specialized and delicate endeavour than amateurs who just happen to share genetic material with the child, coincidentally freeing the parents and allowing them the option to maximize (which seem to be short-hand for 'get as rich as possible'). Enters Chase Stern, Proxy Review Officer, half security agent, half social worker. Not keen on maximization he's seen as a misfit by just about everybody who is somebody, first and foremost his ex-wife. Even his work-partner sees him as somebody who is too involved in the job. Chase knows the system is broken, sees it every day in the Deep Suburbs, where the poor live and he cannot let things lie, for the sake of the children. His reports are at the root of a lobbying effort that brings about the demise of the proxy industry. Another writer could have stopped there, with an easy 'and they lived happily ever after', but that's only the beginning of Provoke Not The Children. How does one go about reintegrating children who have been by all counts abandoned in the care of paid strangers and often abused, when not left to fend for themselves, into the same society that rejected them? As Chase discovers, there is no easy answer, and even the best intentions can have horrifying consequences. We hear little of the smaller children (runts,as the teens call them), but the society that comes out from the enclave devoted to the re-education of the teenagers is a chillingly logical, high-tech version of Lord of the Flies. Chase is our guide in this specific hell, he is committed, driven one could say, but not perfect. He can be too focused on the big picture and (like so many of us) a paladin of the cause who finds it difficult to deal with the individual victims, or even like them (there are a few scenes with his own children where I would have liked to shake him), when push comes to shove, though, he comes out as a decent human being brave enough to do what is right, no matter the personal cost. The fact that we see everything through Chase's eyes is, for me, one of the limits of the novel. In my opinion the other characters aren't developed to the same extent and we don't get to see the reasons behind some of their choices or positions beyond what Chase witnesses directly or tells us. Another issue I have is with the pacing: there are chronological jumps that come unexpected and move us beyond a possible climax, for instance we go from an audit with a senate commission about the proxy industry to three months after the President of the US has made his decision known and Chase fills us in with a recap. I experienced a few 'Wait, what?' moments, expecting a few 'stepping-stone' resolutions that, in novel-time, were already behind me. All in all, though, for me, Provoke Not The Children is a very solid first offering from an author I'll be keeping an eye on.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Terri Ryan

    A Scary Thought-Provoking Forecast of a Future-Generation In the current age when family relations are squeezed, human interaction is tuning out and going digital, and the quest for self-fulfilling accomplishments becomes a central part of the value system, Provoke Not The Children provides a timely prediction as to how this might all play-out. The author parachutes the reader three and four decades into the future to a time when the United States had eliminated what is seen as the greatest barri A Scary Thought-Provoking Forecast of a Future-Generation In the current age when family relations are squeezed, human interaction is tuning out and going digital, and the quest for self-fulfilling accomplishments becomes a central part of the value system, Provoke Not The Children provides a timely prediction as to how this might all play-out. The author parachutes the reader three and four decades into the future to a time when the United States had eliminated what is seen as the greatest barrier to the Self-Maximization of citizens, by outsourcing the rearing of children to professional caretakers called Proxies, with the average child at age eighteen spending a mere eighteen weeks with his or her true family. The proxy industry grows in strength, paving the way for the unobstructed fulfilment and freedom of parent’s to maximise their social, financial and personal skills, until the ability to pay for proxy parents creates unequal capabilities between inner and urban cities, and dangerous chaotic cracks appeared in the industry, which are only exposed by the integrity of the very likeable hero Chase Stern. The readers are brought to Capital Hill, where a fragile political lobbying system, an influential elitist group, and a few professionals look for solutions to these anomalies. Based on the interests, pressures, and dynamics of these groups, four safe, secure, remote locations know as “Freedom Cities” are designed to educate, integrate and regenerate children rich and poor from all walks of life. With the capacity to facilitate twelve to eighteen million children, the success of these “Freedom Cities” delicately hang on the notion that within these huge institutions, professionals can ensure that the worst habits are sifted out and the best habits are successfully cultivated. Not so. The steady atomisation of the communal hub is quickly lost when corrupt and unsupported systems fail to deliver and we watch the decent of human behaviour into a tribal free-for-all with brutal consequences. Once again only the courage of the lone hero Chase exposes these atrocities. Will the system change? We learn with some reservation that five years later society is forced to rethink its commitment to it's children, and a human family-centred investment in future generations is put in place. Thanks you for sending me a free copy of this taught provoking book at the Making Connections group.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Awesome Indies Book Awards

    Awesome Indies Book Awards is pleased to include Provoke Not the Children by Michael W. Anderson in the library of Awesome Indies' Badge of Approval recipients at http://j.mp/AwesIndBk481 Chase Stern, a Proxy Review Officer (PRO) has been assigned the regulation of the Proxy Industry, an industry that has been charged with the care, education and cultivation of the countries children, allowing the adults to “Maximize” themselves unhindered. In this dystopian setting, Chase finds himself plag Awesome Indies Book Awards is pleased to include Provoke Not the Children by Michael W. Anderson in the library of Awesome Indies' Badge of Approval recipients at http://j.mp/AwesIndBk481 Chase Stern, a Proxy Review Officer (PRO) has been assigned the regulation of the Proxy Industry, an industry that has been charged with the care, education and cultivation of the countries children, allowing the adults to “Maximize” themselves unhindered. In this dystopian setting, Chase finds himself plagued with guilt and is determined to dedicate his life to righting the wrongs the “Maximization” system has created, a system he no longer identifies with. Insightfully, the author exposes the vast differences between poverty stricken Suburbs, where the lost and often dangerous youth reside and are “proxied”, to the Inner Cities, where privileged youth receive distinct advantages in care and education. In his quest, Chase is forced to expose the Governments cover-up of a horrible consequence of “maximization”- widespread child abuse and neglect. In a radical reform of the existing and failed system, a new plan is effected, one involving the removal of all children under the age of eighteen to remote facilities in an attempt to reprogram and indoctrinate them for a better, more functional society. Children from the suburbs are conjoined with privileged children in an attempt to level the playing field, so that no child would have an existence without opportunity. Fast forward three years later, these children are expected to return home, but with an unforeseen outcome. This is a powerfully told story that raises many social issues familiar to all of us. In the telling, it’s also brought home to the reader that there are no easy answers to any of these issues. The characters are well developed, the plot unfolds brilliantly, ending with an unexpected twist. Definitely a thought provoking read and one I would highly recommend. I received this book free of charge from the author in return for an honest review.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer

    I was sorely disappointed by this book. The blurb had me really excited to read a book that I thought would be a fast paced book that focused on the children. However, this book was very political which I did not see mentioned in the blurb at all. it jumped weeks and months at a time often leaving the reader confused as to why it stopped talking in the middle of a seemingly important event. The beginning of the book started out very promising by jumping right into the Deep Suburbs and talking ab I was sorely disappointed by this book. The blurb had me really excited to read a book that I thought would be a fast paced book that focused on the children. However, this book was very political which I did not see mentioned in the blurb at all. it jumped weeks and months at a time often leaving the reader confused as to why it stopped talking in the middle of a seemingly important event. The beginning of the book started out very promising by jumping right into the Deep Suburbs and talking about horrible cases of neglect and abuse. After that, the book changed, and not for the better. The book often felt choppy and unnaturally paced. Although I found the book to be disappointing, I was pleasantly surprised by the ending. I don;t want to give anything away, but I did feel like this was a great ending for just an okay book. The last 40 pages were by far the most interesting part of the book.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Elaine Plourde

    This book more or less was almost whats going on today with the kids. We don't send them away and only see them one week out of the year when your a standard american family but if you think about it ,the rich send their kids off to boarding schools. When you put them both together you get just about the same out come as in the book. The out come isn't as drastic but almost. I just don't see how sending my kids away to be brought up by someone could help the problems of society today. Maybe a fe This book more or less was almost whats going on today with the kids. We don't send them away and only see them one week out of the year when your a standard american family but if you think about it ,the rich send their kids off to boarding schools. When you put them both together you get just about the same out come as in the book. The out come isn't as drastic but almost. I just don't see how sending my kids away to be brought up by someone could help the problems of society today. Maybe a few parenting lessons would be more worth while. I did tell my daughter to read it. I'll be waiting for her opinion on the methods in the book. Thank you for an interesting read. I read the book in about two hours because I couldn't put it down.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Ben

    This is a really interesting book and a strong cautionary tale of a society, our society, that forgot what was important in the pursuit of its own pleasure. The writing in this book is not amazing, but it fine, and the message is important. The book essentially details two failed attempts of American society trying to rid itself of the burden of child rearing. The story is very compelling, although at times it feels jumpy. My main complaint is that the chronology of the book just doesn't seem to This is a really interesting book and a strong cautionary tale of a society, our society, that forgot what was important in the pursuit of its own pleasure. The writing in this book is not amazing, but it fine, and the message is important. The book essentially details two failed attempts of American society trying to rid itself of the burden of child rearing. The story is very compelling, although at times it feels jumpy. My main complaint is that the chronology of the book just doesn't seem to work very well because it is not set far enough in the future, the time things take is not long enough, and the technology is at times science fictionish and at times early 2000's. Those are just small complaints though in an otherwise excellent book.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Greta Tackebury Trakul

    The concept was intriguing but the writing wasn't very good and there was no real character development. It was entertaining enough as a quick read but this concept, in the hands of a better writer, would have been interesting to see. The only reason this book wasn't immediately forgettable is because Trump seems to have taken some of his moves from the deep suburbs playbook when it comes to amassing power.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Megan

    Excellent book. Deserves a much longer and better review. This is well written and well worth your time. Illustrations with each chapter add to the storyline. I will be adding a much richer in depth review but please take the time to look at this book. It shows a future world that is all to real.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Stephanie

    I really enjoyed the premise of the book. This book grabbed my attention and held it until the ending. The main character explicitly has the best intentions for neglected children, even when other characters seemingly don't. The writing didnt seem rushed, or ill planned but kept its pace throughout it. I will check out other books by the author, for sure.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Lori Mulvey

    I really enjoyed this book! Fascinating take on the future dystopian novel. The premise is basically that adults should be seeking their own self-interests and shouldn't be bothered with pesky details like raising their own children! It feels like our society is not too far off from this sometimes.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Kristen Frankie

    The story had me completely engrossed. I was horrified by the way the Mandelians treated everyone else. I thought it was a very interesting (and somewhat scary) take on what could happen if this were to be the road we go down.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Kari Duet

    I won a copy of this book from the goodreads giveaway and I'm really happy that I did. I really enjoyed this book. I love the way how it's written in smaller chapters. It makes it so much more enjoyable to read. Also, once you start reading, you really can't stop. I got pulled into the story.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Dina Basarab

    The concept of the book was mesmerizing! The idea that children aren't raised by parents seemed absurd but once the society was explained, it made a lot of sense. I only wish the book was longer with more details about the personal lives of the teenagers. Definitely recommend!

  30. 4 out of 5

    Robin

    Starts out as a dystopia but ends up asking some really great questions about entitlements, authority, and types of government. One of the best E books I have ever read, in that sense. Sometimes a bit long winded.

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