Reading is what we women of leisure do here in the Pacific Northwest. That and other important things where we get to cross our legs.

Reading is what we women of leisure do here in the Pacific Northwest. That enjoying the treasured Cone of Silence and Eventual Beauty.

I just finished reading Peter Wells’ newest book, The Man Who Missed the Boat.

This must be some kind of a record for me. I usually takes weeks to read a book.

Why?

1. I only read at night.

2. I get really tired when I read even great books.

3. Like good friends, I enjoy spending a lot of time with my books.

4. I’m a slow reader.

But Peter’s book called me to read during the day, which was totally strange and kind of enjoyable.

I could get used to this...but whose cat is this and could someone please fix this blinking light?

I could get used to this…but whose cat is this and could someone please fix this blinking light?

So I finished it quicker than normal.

While the wound interview I gave to did with Peter is still open fresh, I thought, “Why not post my review of his book?”

“Can’t think of a reason.” I said back to myself.

“Well, then, go ahead and do it!” I encouraged myself.

So, here you go. I tend to listen to myself when I get that emphatic.

Man who missed the boat

 

Resonating with the twinkle-eyed wit of Mark Twain and with the compassionate insight into the human condition reminiscent of Ernest Hemingway, Peter Wells presents his readers with a most engaging and delightful look at the twists of fate in the otherwise ordinary lives of the many characters who populate his latest book.

We get to know Simon (the kind-hearted, often confused protagonist), Ruth (the jilted wife in an uneventful marriage), Giles (the regretful cheating husband whose former predictable life continues to spiral out of control), Amy (Ruth and Giles’ teenage daughter seeking stability from Simon, her piano teacher), Sadie (the wealthy woman who finds Simon’s brand of innocence quite alluring), Bobbie (an impetuous, heartless young woman who uses Giles for her own entertainment and crime spree), and Herman Melville (yes, that’s right, a frumpy man whose wife left him and who longs for Ruth’s attention).

When I say, “we get to know” these people, I truly mean it. We learn as much about these people as clergy learn about their confessors or therapists learn about their clients. We know their innermost thoughts and feelings because Peter takes us into their minds, hearts and souls. I was so awestruck at Peter’s ability to get inside each character so completely that I often stopped and reread passages of his prose.

Peter is able to seamlessly pop in and out of each character’s point of view by being the omniscient narrator of this story of a Simon, a simple piano teacher who stumbles into the family drama of one of his pupils. As the quintessential storyteller, he engages us by adding his own observations and cues us to pay attention to certain elements of the story and not to others, telling us what is important and what is “for another time.” I felt as if he was sitting there telling the tale to me alone.

Fair warning: if you are a reader who loves a heart-racing plot, a book filled with dialogue, and lots of action-packed scenes involving gun or knife play, this is not the book for you (although the wielding of a knife does occur in this book!). This is a book filled with narration and some dialogue to carry its plot forward. But the narration is not of the descriptive kind. The narration is actually transporting the reader into one of these interesting, complex characters’ heads. Things happen, words are exchanged, and you are back inside someone’s head. It’s fascinating.

I am in awe of Peter’s ability to weave a tale so telling of what it is to be human—and to be so many kinds of human—in such a profound and witty way. This is more than a book; it’s an experience.

NOTE: I printed the whole review because I had room, his being the only review in this post and all.

Don't keep the news about this wonderful book under your hat. I didn't! Heck I couldn't if I tried. With this hat, are you kidding me?

Don’t keep the news about this wonderful book under your hat. I didn’t! Heck I couldn’t if I tried. With this hat, are you kidding me?