Celestial Kings and Queens begins with a simple social interaction aboard an airplane and then develops into an interesting story of thoughts, reasoning and ideas that are new and fresh, yet ultimately timeless. Even before realizing that author Joshua Emmet is from Cleveland, OH like I am, I instantly connected and was engaged in the text from the start. Emmet’s work is a combination of fiction, mysticism, philosophy, real life events and political theory, all neatly bundled together. Books of this variety, that remain interesting and relatable, can be hard to find but Celestial Kings and Queens kept me reaching for my notebook to jot points of interest down or to make notes on things I wanted to research further. I also enjoyed simply sitting back and stopping to just think about what a particular passage or interaction represented.
Emmet is on a journey of learning and discovery in the book and the reader is encouraged to see how these ideas not only shape Emmet’s writing, music and thought processes, but also their own. It is immediately evident that Emmet is a highly intellectual, well read, thoughtful creative person which the world so desperately seems to be lacking these days. Emmet’s level of intelligence is high, yet the presentation of his ideas/ideals never comes across as preachy or extreme. While this does seem to be a bit of a personal manifesto, it does not read as if it must be taken as an absolute truth. There is plenty of room for imagination and personal opinion to thrive. The book does not tell you HOW to think, but rather TO think. Too many times as a society and as adults, we find ourselves products of our routines, jobs and every day life. As a result, we often become conditioned to a certain way of life, in the quest to become a “well-functioning” adult. This conditioning, that we may not even realize, is often responsible for shutting off the creative or interested parts of our brains. Celestial Kings and Queens is a whimsical and cerebral way for Emmet to not only share his observations on the world and himself, but also to discuss how people can break free from the mundane way of thinking that they may have become accustomed to.
The book is divided into Acts and a special, almost supplemental section referred to as Coda, is also included. The dialogue is in screenplay format and much of the book creates active conversation and places the reader directly into the situation, virtually in the same room. As a reviewer, I do not feel that I can deduce what exactly Celestial Kings and Queens is ABOUT specifically because I feel that to anyone that encounters the book, the interpretation will be fluid and varied as much of art is. While the book is about Joshua Emmet’s own life, development and transformation, there is much to be taken and learned from his words for every individual.
Lauren Cannavino is a graduate student, freelance writer, wine lover, and avid reader. Random musings can be found over at www.goldiesays.com.
Review copy was provided free of any obligation by Joshua Emmet. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.