Remember the scene from "(500) Days of Summer" with Tom's expectations and reality playing simultaneously? I keep thinking of that scene as I try to put together how I feel about Mike McCormack's Notes from a Coma. If my expectations for the novel were playing on one side, they would be an almost sci-fi look at the use of deep coma for incarceration, with a focus on J.J., who volunteers for the project. However, in reality, Notes from a Coma centers almost entirely on J.J.'s life leading up to his entrance into the project; his extreme giftedness, the tragic loss of his best friend and his eventual nervous breakdown.
The more detailed information on the Somnos project is told in footnotes, which are more difficult to follow in the digital version than I imagine they would be in a print copy. The length of the more technical footnotes within the interview style text made the novel lose fluidity, making J.J.'s story lose some of its impact.
Overall, I was thrown off by the novel I ended up reading as opposed to the book I expected and, honestly, I think I would have preferred the later. While J.J.'s history is definitely key to the story, I feel like Mike McCormack really missed a great opportunity to fully explore the the premise he set the book around.