“Koby’s New Home” is a novel for the Trump Era

Freeline Productions has released the novel "Koby's New Home" by author Michael W. Freeman.

“Koby’s New Home.” Cover graphic by Sherrie Smith; cover designed by Michael Freeman.

“Koby’s New Home” is the story of a man, a stray kitten … and an apartment complex filled with alienated tenants, many of them now lost souls. The book, which takes a sometimes humorous, often unsettling and scary look at working class and middle class economic dislocation, was written in October 2016, just a few short weeks before the presidential election that brought Donald Trump to the presidency. It’s a book about the blue-collar white pain and seething anger that found a champion in Trump, and “Koby’s New Home” is very much about the new Trump Era this country has shifted into.

WHAT’S IT ABOUT:
Having lost his job and now struggling to find a new one, William Grabinski has no choice but to rent a small, dirt cheap unit in an old, decrepit building. Feeling lonely and isolated there, he can’t resist adopting a kitten that cries at him from the building’s courtyard on a cold December day.
The kitten, which Grabinski names Koby, is shivering and starving. He stares up at the man who stops and speaks to him, wondering if he’s a threat or not. The kitten allows Grabinski to pick him up ….
The purring machine quickly goes off. Now tiny Koby has a home.
It starts out very much like a heartwarming and sentimental story of a depressed man who finds comfort and happiness in caring for this sweet, adorable kitten. But it isn’t long before the book heads off in a much darker direction. Continue reading

The power of digital to fight human trafficking

Advances in digital technology can be used to fight human trafficking.


ORLANDO — January was the month when activists work to raise awareness of a devastating ongoing problem: human trafficking.
Starting on National Human Trafficking Awareness Day on Jan. 11, the month is dedicated to sounding the alarm and issuing a sobering reminder that we all possess a powerful weapon to fight human trafficking: digital communications.
The same tools that allow companies to connect directly with new and existing customers, and to encourage customers to embrace their products, also can be utilized in the global war against sexual slavery.

A WORLDWIDE TRAGEDY
There are an estimated 21-30 million people who are enslaved in the world, more than at any time in human history. The tragic faces of modern slavery include children forced to become soldiers in bloody civil wars, girls as young as 13 who get sold into prostitution, and migrant workers exploited in the workforce. Continue reading

Did the book “Bloody Rabbit” predict the Trump Era?

"Bloody Rabbit" follows one man's terrifying journey from hopelessness to a new start -- in a world spinning out of control.

“Bloody Rabbit” follows one man’s terrifying journey from hopelessness to a new start — in a world spinning out of control.

“It was pouring out when R.T. Robeson jumped on the bus that would carry him from downtown Orlando to the building in an older, somewhat less fashionable section of the city. He had never visited the building before, but a Miss Gardenia was expecting him …”

So begins “Bloody Rabbit,” a book that explores the fiery hot anger that erupts following an economic crash, and the subsequent rise in nationalism as more and more people lose their jobs. The book sounds like a harbinger of the Trump Era that started in 2016. And yet this book by author Michael W. Freeman was written early in 2013, long before Donald Trump had even become a presidential candidate, let alone one taken seriously by the pundits.
In many ways, though, “Bloody Rabbit” offers a glimpse into the roots of Trump’s historic victory at the polls — and at the blue collar workers who watched their jobs, livelihood, and sense of optimism get shattered by the lingering impact of the Great Recession, and who ended up looking for someone to listen to and champion them.
It starts in a world familiar to us all: the struggle to cope during an economic downturn. The book slow builds to an even more terrifying situation: the persecution of those who become an angry society’s scapegoats.
Set in the author’s home city of Orlando and loosely based on the author’s own experiences after being downsized in 2011 and his slow climb back up the economic ladder, “Bloody Rabbit” is a tense, haunting and sometimes grotesquely funny look at how quickly social norms crumble when times get tough. Continue reading

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