Original publish date: 11 November 2014
Sometimes it takes the strangest situations for us to figure out what it is we want in life–even if that something is what we thought we’d never want.
In Fifty Mice by Daniel Pyne, Jay, Johnson is nabbed from a train platform on his normal commute home from work at a telemarketing firm. He is then forcefully thrust into Witness Protection, where he begins to incessantly thinking about lab mice from his previous job and finds parallels between the mice in the testing maze and his life, as well as the general human condition. While in Witness Protection, Jay is coupled with Ginger and her daughter Helen, who doesn’t talk to any one. Jay stubbornly adheres to his identity and not the one provided for him in Witness Protection because he maintains that he never saw what they think he might have seen. As time passes, Jay’s defenses weaken around Helen and he gets her to do what no one else had been able to–talk.
The concept of toeing the line between reality and suggested memories and the fallibility of the human mind and the power of emotions is an intriguing one as it has plentiful possibilities. I thought it was interesting to see how people can seemingly change their fundamental ways through consistent interaction with new people–people who will have a powerful impact on them and alter the way they perceive the world around them, much like lab mice have their perception modified in the name of science. With the various avenues that the story could have taken, it didn’t overreach its bounds to try too hard to be something greater. The text was clean and the language was fittingly pensive in nature for Jay’s various tangential thoughts; however, there was some inconsistency with the names of characters and their usage throughout the narrative.
Overall, I’d give it a 4 out of 5 stars.