Fiction, Science Fiction, Young Adult

Review: Theory of Mind by Jacob Gorczyca

Theory of Mind book cover
Image from eLectio Publishing

Title: Theory of Mind

Author: Jacob Gorczyca

Genre: Science Fiction

Have you ever kept a secret for a friend? A secret that you couldn’t tell a single person? A secret that robbed you of sleep? It might be something wonderful or awful, something neither good nor ill. It might be rather strange. A secret craves freedom, but it mustn’t escape. Everyone has kept a secret, but few have kept one like Sam Gylkov’s.

Sam, a farmer from southern Michigan, has a secret he can no longer bear. He is about to entrust it to a friend. It is at the same time wonderful and horrible and dizzying. After hearing it, no one will be the same.

Even before it had a title or a back cover blurb, I was excited to read this book. Back when he was in high school, Jake Gorczyca went to my homeschool group. So when he posted on Facebook that his book was getting published, I knew I was going to read it even before I knew what it was about.

Unfortunately, this is one of those books that was published before it was ready.

There’s a good story under here. Fascinating, unique, and a bit of a Christian allegory (but not at all in a preachy way). It was completely baffling at the beginning, but it all made wonderful sense at the end. Its unique concept really got me thinking. And I’m happy to say that I didn’t see anything coming, which is rare for me to say about any book.

The bad part was, the fabulous story is burried pretty deep. There are far too many words, and many of them just don’t fit with the backwoods farmer narrator. The style probably could have worked in a fantasy, but it does not fit sci-fi. And there’s so much potential for subplots and expansion that isn’t taken advantage of.

Theory of Mind would benefit from being tripled in size to add all the extra content that wasn’t taken advantage of, then cut in half to get rid of all the extra words. This is a “diamond in the rough” book – there’s an amazing diamond here, but it won’t look its best until the excess rock is removed and the rough edges polished.

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