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Last Reviewed on June 19, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 162

A Deadly Wandering is a social parable that positions itself in resonance with the religious controls often exerted on rural American life. Centered on the real story of a fatal car crash in Utah caused by texting and driving, it casts the decline of attention in the age of personal devices as a kind of moral decay that is realized and atoned for in moments of "redemption."

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The book juxtaposes the fatalistic story of Reggie Shaw concealing and then getting caught for committing a negligent crime against an anecdotal survey of technology's influence on attention throughout history. It also exposes cellular companies for historically denying and suppressing evidence about the negative effect of cell phone use on the attention of vehicle operators. Richtel combines the rhetoric of parable and historical survey to project ethos onto his moralistic view of distraction and disconnection in the technology age, suggesting that it is a kind of human failure or crime that needs to be suppressed.

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