Meet Dan Delacor, an utterly boring citizen of Yellow City. Every day he puts on his yellow shoes, yellow shirt, yellow pants, and yellow tie, and catches a ride on the Tunnel Runner from the suburbs into downtown. He has a job, a home, and a girlfriend, and he never wonders what waits beyond the giant glass wall that surrounds Yellow City.
Except… Dan isn’t as boring as he seems. He often wonders why everything in Yellow City has to be yellow. He wonders why he suffers frequent anxiety attacks, and why he can’t help himself from strolling through dangerous neighborhoods, or running wildly through the fields that separate downtown from the suburbs. Mostly though, Dan wonders why he can’t remember how he lost his right arm, or anything that happened before five years ago.
So, when Dan’s mundane yellow world is interrupted with the seemingly impossible presence of a little red dog named Dean, he quickly finds out there are answers to his questions, and that everything he knows is a lie.
Follow Dan as he learns the secrets of his true identity, the scope of the world beyond the wall, and the true intentions of Yellow City’s mysterious leader, Chancellor Elgrey Vinsidian. Meet Wendy, the twelve-year-old girl on a rescue mission, Echo Valkzdokker, the woman with a love for danger, James Perkins, the wily pilot who has a way with words, and Bianna Kensington, the cold-mannered rebel with a cause. Look through the cracks of this new world with Dan as he learns why his little friend is nicknamed The Dean Machine, what special bond they share, and why the dog deserves a legacy that should live on forever. – Goodreads Synopsis
The Dean Machine Review
Its obvious from the description that The Dean Machine is not your typical book. I think I was put off-balance because my mind associates Yellow+Man to equal Man in the Yellow Hat from Curious George, which means subconsciously I was expecting something sort of … sweet and light.
The Dean Machine is not light, but it is, on occasion, sweet.
Halfway through the book, when a character had been rescued, re-kidnapped (by a giant chameleon no less), and found himself down to just one limb but was still determined and had a relatively positive outlook, I found myself sitting back, rubbing my eyes, and going “Huh.” Now, it doesn’t take a genius to figure out why the guy is able to maintain a relatively good outlook ( and I can’t say more without spoiling anything), but just the fact that he’s still all “Oh, move it. I got this.” makes you sit and think for a moment.
When the robot confesses her insecurity as to what others think about her, it makes you sit and think for a moment.
When you find out that a person loved the dog they rescued so much that they literally created a technology that bonded the two of them to help strengthen the old dog’s heart, it makes you sit and think for a moment.
So, obviously, I spent a lot of time pondering what I’d read before I would move on to the next section. At no point did it seem like the author was doing it deliberately, either. These things just emerged as part of the natural course of the story, so organically you don’t even realize a topic has been introduced to the mildly empty space between your ears until its already taken up residence there.
There are moments of corniness, and some distinctly Carebear-esque technology. This is undeniable. However, there are also moments of extreme suffering and human torture on a staggeringly bad level. The two work to balance each other out surprisingly well. There are homages to old movies that are instantly recognizable, and sometimes mildly terrifying.
This is not a book that will leave you with the warm’n’fuzzies that comes after the successful completion of a good book. It makes you reach out to others, like I did, searching for someone else that has read it because you really, really need to talk about it with someone. To dissect the layers. To poke at things until they make sense, or don’t make sense. Interestingly enough, when I did have a chance to discuss this book with someone else who had read it, we’d both focused on different things. I really hadn’t given more than a few seconds of thought to the very first thing she brought up.
It did very uncomfortable things to my emotions. VERY uncomfortable things. It also made my brain hurt a little bit from all the twists and turns. So take it as you will, but definitely add it to your To-Read List immediately.