Reviewed By Jayy Massy, Free Lance Journalist
E. Leo Foster’s The Exiles takes you on the journey of 23 year old Johnny’s life after he was just released from prison. Through Johnny, you see how a prison sentence never really ends. How as a convicted felon, your past stays with you like an anchor. Despite being free from the bars that surrounded his cell, he discovers he’s still living in a cage made from his rap sheet and credit history. As Foster magnificently lays out, Johnny is forced, just as so many convicts in America, to commit crime in order to make a living. Foster writes, “When you trap an animal, the animal has no alternative but to attack the one trapping him.” Foster’s ability to draw on the reader’s empathy, convinces all of us that Johnny has no choice but to take part of a major crime spree.In Foster’s truly sensational writing style, he designs this novel to resemble that of an onion. As you continue to read, you peel back layers after layers with each chapter. Eventually, you can smell the horrible stinch of the characters involve in Johnny’s life, and after peeling back more layers, Foster leaves his readers in tears as Johnny attempts to try his hand at love, something that had eluded him all his life.
Foster demonstrates his writing brillance as he puts together one of the best novels for an up and coming new author. He illustrates what the new age writers of the 21st Century look like, while holding true to the character traits of the classic novels of our past. Foster’s first novel dives deep into the psych of Johnny, the representation of all Americans feeling trap in their lives, and lets all of you know that we are not alone in a society that is pushing us further and further away from human intimacy.
Ultimately, Foster shows us through Johnny that we all make mistakes and that a credit report isn’t a true interpretation of ourselves. As Foster illustrates, the have and have nots are actually divided by the people who were caught sinning verses the people who kept their sins a secret.
This book is simply a Must Read.
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