Cover Image: The Damage Done

The Damage Done

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Member Reviews

This was a decent book! Really thought-provoking. I just think there were too many character stories to focus on. I think that number needed to be edited down a bit. Marcus/Malcolm were the most compelling plot.
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THE DAMAGE DONE, by Michael Landweber, is a thought provoking look at what our world would be like without violence.  Violence is part of the fabric of our world and without it, the dynamic of our entire societal structure changes.  While removing violence initially and morally seems good, Landweber contemplates if there is anything bad about removing violence.  Using several different people's lives to contemplate this removal, it quickly becomes clear in the book that society, with a good amount of revaluation, can thrive in world where violence is a relic of the past.
  Landweber follows several different characters whose lives are forever changed after violence has been removed from the world.  The removal is abrupt and part of the joy of the book is watching the characters realize and process what has happened.  Some have trouble accepting it, while others instantly embrace it like a warm blanket and immediately alter their approach to their entire lives.  After we meet all of the major characters and experience their moments of realization, Landweber reveals how all of the individual are intertwined and the reader is rewarded with a touching conclusion of what our world might be without violence.
  Unique in design and heavy in the study of what if, THE DAMAGE DONE creates a hypothesis of something that cold happen and then plays out different scenarios of the result of that possibility. That playing out of different scenarios is what makes this novel such a compelling read.
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This book was very interesting, and I can definitely say I have never read anything in this vein before. i love when books attempt to answer "What if" questions, especially when they are timely to the events of the modern world or hint towards some movement that is actually taking place. In this case, the question "what if there was no violence?" leads us on a journey with multiple characters to see how this hypothetical reality could impact the lives of people similar to you and me. This book deals with themes of power and power dynamics, and how violence and power work together to create fear and submission. I thought this book was really interesting and would recommend it!
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Possible Triggers:
Physical Abuse | Death | Suicide | Rape | Racism

Follows multiple points of view (Dabney, Marcus, Ann, Richard, Julian, Gabriela, Empty Shell) with a couple chapters scattered throughout of prominent world figures (ex. pope).

+ Really thought provoking. I’m sitting here several hours after finishing the book still trying to decide if I think people would really behave the way they did in the book. Honestly the feeling I'm having is very similar to the  feeling I had after watching the movie “District 9”; basically a combination of “wow, humans can be so shitty but also this is kinda hopeful at the end?” and “this is totally accurate”.

- Violence being stopped from.. I dunno concluding or finishing its objective (like a punch blocked ) is one thing,  but why were bullets hanging in the air indefinitely in some places and in others, gravity worked?
- This was less of a cohesive story, more of a smattering of (the same 3) days from the perspective of multiple characters for what they were doing when the world changed. Many of the points of views were related in some kind of way, and that was really neat. I’m not sure I liked how it was divided though. There was a really stark “events surrounding right when this change happened” and then a pretty large jump in time to “and now”. 
- The last chapter of Julians’ could have been left out. Felt really unnecessary for advancing the story to the end.

Final Thoughts:
If you are looking for a book that showcases only the good in humanity, this is not the book you are looking for. I found a lot of the chapters in the first ‘part’ of the book to be very uncomfortable and hard to read. There were so many examples of the worst facets of humanity and it’s important to recognize and acknowledge, but it also hurts to read. That  being said, I absolutely had to set the book aside at times to have a break; it’s not needlessly gorey and graphic, just blunt. I had 1 large problem with the book that slightly impeded my enjoyment of it. I can’t go into huge details because it's a spoiler but, a cursory skim on the internet cites that there are around 163,000 deaths per day worldwide, that very very very large number, kinda changes a large aspect of the story. I’m not sure if I enjoyed the book or not. I do not, NOT like the story. I  suppose it's just not my personal cup of tea.
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I received an eARC of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

One of the advance reviews for Michael Landweber’s new novel The Damage Done compares it to The Twilight Zone, and that’s an apt comparison. One day, for no apparent reason, humans become unable to deliberately cause physical harm to each other. The cast of characters—the brother of the last person to die by gun violence in America, a political dissident in a totalitarian country, a young boy who’s getting bullied at school, a social worker, and a sociologist, among others—grapple with what this means for both their individual lives and their larger societies.

This dual focus on the large- and small-scale implications of this sudden change in the world is one of the novel’s strengths. How would American society change if mass shootings were literally impossible? What would happen in dictatorships when the people no longer have to fear being killed for political dissent? How would nations resolve disputes if war was no longer an option? These are deep questions, and the answers presented by the novel aren’t always as simplistic as one might first think. But Landweber doesn’t fall into the trap of getting so enamored with his Big Ideas that he forgets about his characters. In his writing, we see these questions through the eyes of individuals. To the extent that he answers them, we see those answers in the way the sudden impossibility of violence manifests in their lives. Those characters are compelling. I was worried when they seemed to be in danger, cheering for them when they triumphed, and feeling for them when they were despairing.

This is a pretty short novel, and while I don’t object to that in principle, I think The Damage Done could have been even better if it were a little longer. Most of the book focuses on the first few days after the world changes, and then time-skips to show the state of the world years later. I would have preferred to see more of the intervening period play out, rather than simply being told about it at the end. But overall, this is still a thought-provoking, interesting story.
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This book was given to me in exchange for an honest review. But I wasn't able to view it as it was archived.
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Interesting premise but confusing writing! While the idea of a world where everyone is incapable of committing violence might be hard to wrap your head around, it works in the sense of the author trying to create meaning and a lesson. But, the story is extremely hard to follow and keep concentrated in. 

Definitely not a typical thriller read but also has a lot to take in beyond the pages.
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The Damage Done asks the thought provoking question of "what if physical violence against other people was no longer an option?" In a world where this becomes the case overnight, Landweber imagines the implications of a violence free world through multiple POV's.
I loved the concept of this, but I felt as though I didn't truly connect with any of the characters throughout. Though it was interesting, it felt as if it was simply that: an exploration of an interesting idea, rather than an exploration of characters in a different setting. This was still an enjoyable read, but I did feel it had room for something... more.
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I really enjoyed this novel. All the aspects of a great read were found within these pages. Be sure to pick up this title!
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Here is a novel with a very interesting premise: what if it were suddenly impossible, the world over, to commit physical violence against another person? For instance, bullets from guns just hang in the air, bombs might damage property, but do no one injury, and people are unable to strike others. 

What would people do?  We know enough about human behavior, especially through social media, to expect that some folks would start performing some dangerous experiments. Those who are filled with hate would surely try to find other ways to affect pain and hardship on others. 

In The Damage Done, author Michael Landweber presents this interesting premise, along with well drawn characters I found to be either likable or intriguing. This is well-written,  with good pacing, and I enjoyed it. 

My one reservation about this slim novel is that it just skims the surface of its topic. This may be as intended, however, since this does create food for thought. Would there be a period of chaos, in some places, where laws and their enforcement would have to be reinvented? Would we need as many laws, or different laws?  At first, it seems that there would be more peace in the world, but would there really be less oppression? 

I enjoyed the writing and the premise of this short speculative novel, and would welcome an expansion or continuation of this topic, in the future.

Many thanks to Crooked Lane Books and Netgalley for this intriguing experience!

(goodreads 3.5 rating)
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I didn't like this as much as I'd hoped. I liked that it's a "thinker" at times, and like many interesting stories, makes one realize that getting what one wishes for often does not produce the anticipated outcome. It tackles some big topics, but it wasn't as compelling as I'd like.

Thanks very much for the free ARC for review!!
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What a read!!! I was kindly gifted an early e-copy in return of an honest review. I loved this! The cover immediately caught my attention & I couldn’t put it down! I would certainly recommend.
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I don't think I've ever read a book like this, super interesting and unique concept!!
I will definitely recommend this book to people who like books with a dystopian vibe.
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Excellent story! Totally engrossing!.  Looking forward to reading more by this author! Could not put this down!
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When I read the premise of this book, I was immediately compelled to read it. 

I wished this story come true. A world without violence, a world where no one can hurt others but, does violence is always physical? 

This book touches so many important topics, socially and politically.  The execution of it was amazing,  I like some stories more than others, I was dragged to Dan, Marcus, Ann, and Gabriela's stories. I'm not giving it 4 stars because I felt there were too many POVs within the book, however, I liked how the author connected them.  

I loved the end of the book, I'm from El Salvador, as well as Gabriela, and imagining a country without violence sounds amazing. My country might not be the best, and I know each country has its own issues. But thinking about a country where you can go out with no fear, or just walk on the streets at night, as my parents tell me they did when they were little, sounds like heaven.
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I really enjoyed this book, both the premise and the execution. I was a little hesitant from reading other reviews but I found the story tied together nicely. 

Character wise I was intrigued by all of the different stories. I could have happily read a book about one or two of the characters, but I didn't find not being able to an issue. Each character had enough about them to make decisions about them and I found myself invested in Empty Shell and Anne's stories. 

The plot is definitely unique, at least I haven't read similar. Surprisingly I wasn't bothered about not knowing the origin of the change, I think because the characters drove the plot so we'll, I didn't need that world making quality. It also meant the book had a good pace and there was always time to fit a chapter in. 

This book was thought provoking, enjoyable and a realistic hypothesis. It explored many important issues and raised philosophical questions. The brutal honesty of Dabs situation and how cruel people can be, combined with the monstrous nature of Jake and the futility of Empty shells situation made for a compelling read. Definitely worth a read. I will be trying some more of the author's work.
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A premise that will have you stood at attention, Damage Done’s central premise is that one moment, all violence in the world ceases, and no one can harm another person again. There were so many interesting concepts that could have been explored; we were given a dictator without power, a pope considering the Ten Commandments, a white supremacist planning an attack, a domestic violence victim. But we also had around ten other POV characters; too many for me. The breadth of POVs became a hindrance as no one story was explored in any detail. The book will make you think, but it didn’t really deliver on the premise.
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intriguing concept and themes explored. i liked how morality was discussed during the novel, and the different characters and their experiences throughout this book. the backstories were very interesting! i've never read anything like this novel, and i don't know if i would pick it up for myself, but it was very unique.
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The Damage Done is about a world where all of a sudden a genie sneezed and no one can ever commit violence against another. Bullets stop in mid air. Bombs don’t go off. Punches don’t land. But, there’s no explanation of how or why this occurs or how the physics works. The author uses this premise to explore a number of different stories from a Sixth grader who is being bullied, a kid in the drug-infested housing projects coping with the dealers and other gangbangers on the stairs, a revolutionary, a dictator, teenagers illegally immigrating to escape violence in El Salvador. Some of the stories overlap with connections between the characters. Others don’t connect. There doesn’t seem to be much point to the story, no resolution, no climax, just magically everything is unicorns and tulips.
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Strong and shiny 4 stars.

What would happen if one day physical violence would not be possible to acquire anymore? If punching, shooting, slashing, stabbing, running over others would just not be possible? Would people be safer? Yes, of course! Would they be happier? Hm... probably, but not necesarily, not everybody.

In the book we follow several different characters from different background. Some have more, some less in common with each other. Nevertheless, each one of these people is trying to understand not what had happened or why, BUT how to live in a new reality. A dictator, who was ruling a country thanks to violence now finds himself helpless and commits a suicide.  Ann, who is a silent victim of domestic violence, finds an enormous strenght in her to start her live over once her husband is not able to hurt her anymore. A black boy, who lost his brother finds the new world uncertain, but decides to take his chance and... just to avoid throwing in a spoiler... let´s say he´s doing a lot of good. 

So the end of violence opens up a whole lot of a new opportunities for people, who were otherwise limited by it. But humans being humans are still cruel, still holding a grudge, still hating others. And if direct killing is not possible, then "we will find a way". Yes, I´m sure they will. It´s in our nature.
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