Claudia’s Brain

Fiction - Drama
469 Pages
Reviewed on 02/17/2021
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

Jeff Baker has degrees in chemistry, philosophy and psychology. He lives and works in Evanston, Illinois.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Pikasho Deka for Readers' Favorite

Claudia's Brain is an introspective, philosophically inclined drama written by Jeff Baker. At the age of ten, David Miller and his father move to the sleepy town of Cumberland Gap, where he strikes up a burgeoning friendship with Claudia Verstand, a child prodigy with an innate ability to dissect nonsense and nail the truth. When a series of unfortunate events render Claudia an orphan, the Miller household embraces her with open arms and adopts her as one of their own. Exposed to the likes of Socrates and Plato at an early age, Claudia grows up to distinguish herself amongst her peers and develops into an independent woman with an unmatched intellectual prowess and unwavering resolve. She also evokes deep and lifelong admiration from David. But in the age of post-truth, where disinformation and propaganda reign supreme, can Claudia's brand of hillbilly Bohemianism work?

Claudia's Brain is a smartly written and compelling character study of human existentialism. Author Jeff Baker explores postmodernism with a highly critical lens and argues that the quest for truth should never be clouded by moral and societal constraints but rather be driven solely on the merit of reasoning and sound logic. Jeff Baker crafts a moving tale of a man head over heels in love with a woman of considerable intellectual prowess and fills it with some strikingly poignant meta-commentary. I loved the philosophical tangents of the narrative, and I agree with Baker's assessment that deconstruction of arguments is paramount in testing the veracity of truth. The characters are instantly likable, and the plot never lets your attention waver. I thoroughly enjoyed Claudia's Brain, and I highly recommend it.

Vincent Dublado

How would you tell the life story of the person that you have loved? In the case of David Miller, he narrates the story of Claudia Verstand with a profound recall of how he knew her, and how she added something wonderful to his life and to those around her. This is author Jeff Baker’s touching and thought-provoking novel, Claudia’s Brain, where you will embark on getting to know Claudia Verstand, who is anything but a cookie-cutter female character. She has a superpower that must not get you fooled by the idea of a bizarre ability that is commonly read in comic books. Claudia is an empiricist who has a unique view of the world and is disinclined to believe what is not true. How that makes her a superhero is what creates a fascinating invitation into her personal and professional adventures. From her painful childhood to making her mark at the CIA, Claudia’s love for wisdom and tenacity for deep thought will endear her to you.

Claudia’s Brain is one of those rare novels that you do not read every day. Jeff Baker’s plotting and characterization make it intriguing and mysterious. This work may well be described as fiction for thinkers, as philosophy has an integral part in Claudia’s formation as a character. Even if you are not into philosophy, this novel is not confined to a character trying to decode life’s most fundamental questions. It is a fascinating examination of one woman’s existence and how her inclination for empirical observation gives her life hues of color in a world that thinks in shades of gray. Her life unravels according to the man she loves talking about her. You might find that David’s narration is too romanticized, but he does not fail to reveal Claudia’s flaws. This unique novel is recommended to any fiction lover. You may not agree with Claudia’s line of thought, but she will inspire you to ponder life’s philosophical questions.

Susan Sewell

After moving to a new town, a young boy meets an extraordinary girl who affects every aspect of his life in Claudia's Brain by Jeff Baker. When David's mother died, he and his father moved to Cumberland Gap. While they were still unloading their furniture, Claudia came and introduced herself. With her gangly limbs and perspicacious air, Claudia was strange and unique. Her perspective of situations and the world at large was atypical, and her intelligence tended to make others feel uneasy around her. Therefore, when he met her, David thought she was odd and his initial reaction to her was dislike. However, David's father, a professor of philosophy, was entranced by her precociousness. When Claudia's mother abandoned her, the professor strongly encouraged David to make an overture of friendship to the stricken girl. Reluctantly obeying his father, David invited Claudia to their home to view his record collection. It didn't take David long to fall under her spell and become her closest friend. As the years passed, Claudia and David were never apart until they graduated from school and left for universities in different cities. Despite the miles and people that separated them, David's feelings for Claudia never subsided, and he longed for a more substantial relationship. Will he ever find the courage to tell Claudia how much he cares for her? Or will David spend the rest of his days on the perimeter of her life?

Poignant and thought-provoking, Claudia's Brain by Jeff Baker is a captivating narrative covering several aspects of philosophical ideologies. With charming and unforgettable characters, an enchanting setting, and a provocative plot, the story is not only enjoyable but also educational. Inspired by the principles and theories of notable philosophers, the mesmerizing story challenges the reader to ponder the nature of knowledge, reality, religion, and even our existence. This profound and touching novel will engage and entertain those who relish moving and stimulating stories that encourage self-reflection and new perspectives of the world at large. Several scenes include sexual inferences that are more suitable for a mature reader.

Lesley Jones

In Claudia’s Brain by Jeff Baker, David Miller first set eyes on Claudia Verstand when he and his professor father moved to Cumberland Gap shortly after his mother's death. Although the professor was instantly enamored by her intelligence and unique analytic mind, David found her strange. When Claudia's father, Ernst, mysteriously disappears, she becomes part of David's family and slowly his feelings for her grow. David narrates the story of his relationship with the only woman he ever truly loved. To him, she possessed the superpower to question the truth, just like Bertrand Russell who once wrote, 'not being certain is essential to rationality.' Although Claudia battled with her sadness over losing her father and self-doubt when her mother abandoned her, she forged a successful career that took her to Washington DC, Rwanda and Nigeria. As David reaches adulthood, he tries unsuccessfully to find a woman like Claudia. When he finally reconnects with her, she drops a bombshell about her personal life that could end David's chances of a relationship with her for good. Will David ever capture the heart of the extraordinary Claudia or will his love for her never be returned?

Claudia’s Brain by Jeff Baker is a well-written novel that will touch your heart and imagination. I loved the characters in Cumberland and if you grew up in a small town, you will recognize many of the wonderfully three-dimensional personalities. I loved Crackbottom, he was extremely funny and I think every town has its own version of this character. The relationship between David and Claudia is one that is rarely found, they were absolutely soulmates. I found Claudia an incredibly interesting character, she was astonishingly astute and had the ability to control any situation. My particular favorite encounter was her brilliant approach to the arrogance of Pettigrew. I thought David's narration of the story gave the reader an insight into his thought processes with every encounter he made and the situation he found himself in. The story uses some of the greatest minds of philosophy, including Nietzsche, Kant, and Plato to give very interesting perspectives to life's obstacles. Even if you are not knowledgeable on the subject of philosophy, this heartening love story will captivate you. I love a novel that is thought-provoking and encourages you to think outside the box and this story did just that. My favorite quote from the book that highlights this is: 'Broadcasters gave us “reality shows” that were not real. The news gave us “no spin zones” that were pure spin.'