I loved the premise of The Man in the Box. Andrew Toy really concocted a unique story line, with an over flowing amount of fantasy, family drama, mystery and more. When I read the description, as well as seen the beautiful cover (just wow) I was thrilled to dive into it! It was a bit of a slow burn at the beginning as the characters were developed and the setting was drawn out. I struggled a little to get sucked in, I couldn’t really place why I felt the detachment either as it really is very well written.
It wasn’t until about half way in when I realized that I just didn’t like the main character much. There was something about his personality that rubbed me the wrong way, which is really the only reason I didn’t give this book five stars. Robby seemed a bit juvenile to me… arrogant, immature, he had sort of a false sense of entitlement about him. If he were a real person, I don’t think I could force myself to get along with him if I tried.
THAT SAID, the story in and of itself was great. Robby’s life is quickly spiraling. His family is distant, he lost his job, and plans for travel had to be canceled due to the financial hardship. It seems everything around Robby is doomed for failure. Then he finds ‘The Box’. It appears to be nothing more than a discarded cardboard box. Robby climbs inside, as a way of hiding from life at the moment, and he’s transported to this wondrously dangerous place of make-believe. It’s a place he’d created in his imagination as a teen, so when he finds himself there and everything is so real, Robby is memorized by it. There’s everything one can possibly imagine there, including dinosaurs, giant bugs, zombies or ‘deadbeats’ as he calls them, and more! The weird part is that when Robby comes back to the real world he bares the marks left by his adventures. The cuts and bruises he brings back with him are as real as can be!
Robby becomes obsessed with The Box, and with the adventures there. When others find out, it becomes a bit of a battle. Robby’s life soon becomes a fight on the outside as well as the inside. Lives are in danger, people cross lines, and everything spirals in both the real world and The Box world.
I really liked Robby’s wife, Rosalynn. She’s down to earth and holds their family together through it all despite Robby’s consistent mental distraction with his hidden second life and the people inside (I don’t want to give that little secret away, but it’s an angle that I struggled with). All in all it was an interesting read, and I’ll likely be checking out more of Andrew Toy’s stuff as it comes along.
Thanks to the author for a free copy in exchange for an honest review.
Robby Lake encounters a string of bad luck, until he discovers a cardboard refrigerator box that changes his life. Whenever he gets inside the box, he is transported to the imaginary world he created as a child. Except, while Robby was getting married, having kids, and growing up, his imaginary world had also evolved. But it evolved into a twisted and dark nightmare world one which only Robby can redeem, and the task is almost impossible. The more he visits that world, however, the more addicted to it he becomes, leaving his family to worry about the way he seems to be self-destructing. The box, it turns out, has a seductive power over Robby that has him in its full control. But can he destroy it before it destroys his life forever – or possibly killing him or his loved ones?