Gosh I love my local library – Librarians Rule!! I picked this one up on a recent visit because it was displayed on the “We Really Liked This One” stand. I figured I had nothing to lose and I wasn’t disappointed!
The cover of this book sums it all up: “Sometimes you can’t pull yourself together until you’ve completely fallen apart” and fall apart Michael O’Dell manages to do with great finesse and wit.
The book opens with a scene setting pop: Michael O’Dell is out for his constitutional, having “yet another premonition that (he’s) hit by a car” when he is, indeed, hit by a car. It doesn’t sound like the most uplifting tale. But the car accident is merely the catalyst for a long saga of other issues which are clearly lurking in the ever-present background of O’Dell’s life but have been successfully ignored because, well, life happens and it keeps happening and most of us never really take the time to deal with the important things.
I loved the way Lamprell tread the fine balance between pain and humour in this novel. His ability to do this allowed him to cleverly navigate his way through some incredibly confronting issues – a daughter who punches out a classmate, a son with a stash of drugs in his room, and a general sense of personal dissatisfaction.
O’Dell doesn’t die. On the contrary, the car accident teaches him how to live again and although it takes some time, he does eventually find his way.
“You are an unremarkable man living an unremarkable life except for this single thing: you love and are splendidly loved. You will never paint a masterpiece or engineer a great bridge or leave any lasting monument to yourself. But you have been swept into the river of love and you know how to swim there and you are teaching your children how to swim as your parents taught you and your teach will teach theirs and on it will go.
This is your legacy, your luck, your glory and your magnificence.”