The Greatest Unit of Value
Working Class Press (2012)
Reviewed by Paige Lovitt for Reader Views (2/13)
Article first published as Book Review: The Greatest Unit of Value by Michael Sadoff on Blogcritics.
“The Greatest Unit of Value” by Michael Sadoff introduces the reader to Granger Callahan. Struggling with schizophrenia, Granger Callahan has difficulties in deciding between what is real, and what is coming from the voices in his head. When he discovers a journal that is written by Zachary Klein, a young man in his twenties, Granger feels that he has finally found something tangible. Part of the journal is written about Zach’s trip through the United States, other parts are fictional stories that represent his ideas for short films. Deciding that he can find answers to questions that he seeks by traveling to San Francisco, Granger hits the road with no money and no medication, using the journal as a guide.
Along his travels, he encounters people who often throw him off course. They do what they can to take what they can from him. One of these people is a drug addicted car thief named Natalie. Natalie has a way of getting into Granger’s head and overshadowing the voices that he hears. Unfortunately, she also has serious issues which would keep them from completing each other. At some point they seem to finally be getting it together, then life takes them off in different directions. Granger isn’t sure if she ever really existed.
When Granger finally reaches San Francisco, he has no idea how many people’s lives he has affected just by being himself. While part of him presents itself as a mentally ill man, there is another part that some people recognize as the true man inside him trying to find his way out through a maze of mental illness. Granger’s inability to trust others, especially his family hinders his recovery. When fate brings him into the life of Zach, the journal author, things really take a turn. Zachary has to rely on his creative skills to try to bring Granger’s adventure to a safe ending.
I found “The Greatest Unit of Value,” to be absolutely fascinating. Author Michael Sadoff does an incredible job of taking us into the mind of a young man with schizophrenia. In spite of his insanity, I could understand what he was experiencing, and felt what it would be like to be living in his world, where there are few people that can be trusted, especially the voices that appear from nowhere. Incredibly fascinating, with some extremely creative ideas, I found this book to be truly unique and something that will be enjoyed by all.