Hey! Check this out! This Life is taking on a new focus and I am becoming the Literary Mom for urbanmoms.ca. I am so honoured and psyched to combine the three things that make my life worth living…my family, reading and writing…into one happening spot. For my inaugural blog on the new site, I want to share a great discovery with you
Things Go Flying
The first thing I loved about this book is the title. It reminds me of my life. Everything around me seems to be flying…time, the growth of my step-kids and the Gaffer, food out of the fridge, money out of my wallet, the frizzies on the side of ponytail, me…in an effort to get myself and everyone else where we need to be and when. So when I was asked to attend the launch of neophyte novelist Shari Lapena for her book, Things Go Flying, I was thrilled. Look, there are even pictures of me…and me and the author.
The second thing I loved about the book was the teaser on the back of the cover. “Harold Walker, desperately average, is in the throes of a mid-life depression. His wife, Audrey clings to an illusory sense of control – over their home, their teenaged sons, Dylan and John, and her own explosive secret.” I felt like both characters, desperately average and fully clinging to an illusory sense of control…I have no explosive secret…but if anyone ever challenges my illusion that I’ve got everything under control, I may just fold up like an old seventies bridge chair.
The third thing I loved, was meeting Shari herself, who was so sweet, unassuming and welcoming to a total stranger at her very funky launch in Leslieville, that I just wanted to hide in a corner and start reading right then and there; but, minding my manners, I did wait until I got home.
And then I climbed into bed and thoroughly enjoyed an entertaining ride alongside the Walker family’s trials and tribulations which, aside from a deep connection with the after- life and a fairly extreme case of marital infidelity, are not much different than any of those experienced by ourselves, our friends or our neighbours. Harold’s wallowing is frustrating, Audrey’s anxiety and how she chooses to cope, very familiar and the troubles of the teens a scary peak into the future or alarming mirror of what is happening right now, depending on the age of our children.
But the seemingly ordinary tale of a nuclear family in Toronto who just happens to be slightly dysfunctional and haunted by ghosts is told with such a light hand and wry humour that the reader cannot resist cheering for a maudlin Harold and hoping that his son John manages to get his act together. Just in case this all sounds too light for your reading taste, there are even some brilliant scenes between Harold and his personal philosopher that examine some of the teachings of Neitzsche and Voltaire.
When you finish reading Things Go Flying, you may feel that Shari was spying in your window during an argument with your husband or peaking at you when you thought you were enjoying a private hand-wringing session in the kitchen with a warm mug of tea or a tall glass of gin. You will chuckle, you will grimace, and you may even cry, but you will not be disappointed that you read Shari’s novel. www.sharilapena.com
PS – Here’s a link to a great review in the Globe and Mail.