Slade: The Fine Line Between Self-Help and Cults
Evolved Publishing (2022)
Reviewed by Leigh Kimberly Zoby for Reader Views (02/2023)
“Slade: The Fine Line Between Self-Help and Cults” by Robb Grindstaff is a powerful novel written in a unique format that slowly seduces the reader, enticing them to search deep within themselves as they piece together the scraps of information to discover the true soul of a man.
Having taken all he could withstand, teenage Slade Bennington leaves his neglectful drug-addict mother to live independently. After a short period, he gains custody of his little sister Jolene. Jolene, requiring medical care, asks Slade to accompany her to the hospital, but while en route, Slade loses control of the car, killing his little sister and disfiguring him beyond recognition. Once Slade awakens from the coma, he gains a new perspective on life, stating he “died and has been born again.”
As a double amputee with only one eye and horrible burn scars, Slade struggles with his feelings and begins to journal the details from the night of the accident. These journals piqued a publisher’s interest, a movie deal, and an enormous fan following. This new outlook on life Slade has is contagious, and everyone wants what he has. Slade, with the help of his actress wife, takes the world by storm and creates a whirlwind of a money-making motivational dynasty, charging thousands of dollars for life coaching to his believers. Fans lovingly deem Slade the “shaman to the stars,” but critics accuse him of being a brainwashing shyster. Shyster or Shaman is up to you, the reader, to decide who exactly Slade Bennington is behind his horrible scars.
Robb Grindstaff has penned a distinctive, praiseworthy novel that consists of a series of interviews and news article clippings. I found this writing style refreshing. The interview method creatively allowed a much deeper character-reader relationship. Slowly, details about Slade and the people surrounding him were laid out like breadcrumbs to discover. As the puzzle pieces began to form a picture of Slade’s true self, WHAM, my theory was blown to smithereens by a jaw-dropping twist to the story. Scooping my jaw off the floor, I continued searching for the details behind the shocking blow, only to be side-swiped again. Slade by Robb Grindstaff is a not-to-be-missed novel that I am confident will become a bestseller for years to come.