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Thursday, June 18, 2009
Book Reviews: SUMMER OF LIGHT and RETURN POLICY
As promised, I’ve got a couple of reviews for you today—books by male authors. Just keeping the balance here.
Summer of Light. This book is not a new release (2007, Bethany House), but I’ve just now discovered W. Dale Cramer’s writing and am delighted that I chose this one as my introduction to his fine novels. Mick Brannigan, a construction worker, loses his job when an accident occurs on the “high steel,” and he finds himself playing stay-at-home-dad to his and Layne’s three children. The results are hilarious and poignant, often on the same page. During his tenure, mishaps aplenty occur, a menagerie of animals roam the five-acre lot where the Brannigans live, and Mick discovers passion and purpose in his life. While his wife, Layne, is certain the children will be psychologically scarred . . . if they survive . . . Mick plods along in hopes that the damage to his kids won’t be permanent.
This story was delightful in countless ways, laugh out loud funny at times, and heartwarming to the end. My husband declared Summer of Light his favorite read this year. I couldn’t agree more.
Return Policy (2009, Zondervan) by Michael Snyder has been on my reading list since I first heard it was coming out. I even pre-ordered it, anticipating a rousing follow-up to his debut novel, My Name is Russell Fink. I was not disappointed. Return Policy features quirky (dare I say neurotic?) characters and a plot which follows the three-act structure—Snyder style. Mayhem results with this cast of mismatched, yet sincerely earnest folks. The author brings together the best of the down-on-their-luck characters and weaves an almost believable tale. Along the way you’ll meet a washed-up genre novelist, a single mom with a disabled child, a scraggly homeless man with blank spots on his memory, a priest who runs a mission, and a mysterious family of psychics known as the Grinning Whiteheads. Their intersecting lives makes us all want to be better human beings.
You should definitely add this one to your list of fun summer reads.
A final note here. Both of these books turned out to be flat out funny with a strong thread of discovering who we are meant to be and holding fast to that. While they are certainly inspirational, they give the added value of being highly entertaining as well.