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Always losing something
Max green, author
Max Green has lived a blessed life. An ex-football star turned corporate businessman, Max looks to have it all until the day he is diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as motor neurone disease (MND) or Lou Gehrig's disease. But Max is lucky. The year is 2030. Incredible scientific innovations have already taken place that make his life bearable. Now they just need a cure. When Max’s powerful friends, Tim Thompson, a former football colleague and Prime Minister of Great Britain, and Jay Castle, a no-nonsense businessman and self-made billionaire, also contract the disease, suddenly everyone is interested in finding a cure. Helped by Dr Brad Sternberg, a high-profile neurologist at Columbia University Hospital’s ALS Centre, the trio embark on the adventure of their lives to put an end to a disease causing terrible suffering around the world. Always Losing Something is an empowering, fast-paced, and thought-provoking exploration of the relationship between people living with ALS, big Pharma, business and government… and just what can be achieved when everyone wants the same thing. Max Green is the pseudonym for Marcus Gerbich, who has lived with ALS since 2016.
Gerbich’s hopeful debut follows Max Green, a former professional soccer player turned businessman and pseudo-Ironman after the loss of a leg, an arm, and a diagnosis of Lou Gehrig’s disease. In Zelig-like fashion, Green manages to be present at multiple epochal events—losing his leg at the running of the bulls in Spain (where the kind woman who helps him becomes his wife), losing an arm in the World Trade Center attacks on 9/11, and saving his assistant’s mother’s life during the coronavirus pandemic.

Chapters alternate between the book’s present in 2030 and the past, beginning with Green’s childhood and working up chronologically. The structure is episodic, more like a series of loosely connected vignettes than a fully fleshed-out novel. The novel revolves around Max’s life and worldview to an extreme degree; supporting characters mostly exist to forward Max’s plot, enrich his life, and show how cool or suave or smart or philanthropic he is, with little emphasis on character development. Indeed, it’s only Max and his band of famous or rich friends who can save the day, with their copious money and that of their business connections. Some readers may be troubled by the conclusion that ALS can and should be cured by private investors because they’ll make money on the treatments. Others may be left cold by the way the narration glosses over both how Max made his money and how he feels about the extraordinary events of his life.

This book melds genres, combining science fiction’s futuristic technology, an adventure novel, a fictional life story, and a saga about the quest for a medical cure. It’s full of heart and filled with frank depictions of the reality experienced by people living with ALS. Readers who love stories about one exceptional man saving the world will find their wishes fulfilled here.

Takeaway: This novel, which recounts one man’s pursuit to end ALS with all the money and heart he can muster, will appeal to readers who like exceptional heroes singlehandedly saving the world.

Great for fans of: Karl Ove Knausgaard’s My Struggle series, Ashlee Vance’s Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future.

Production grades
Cover: B
Design and typography: B
Illustrations: N/A
Editing: B
Marketing copy: B