Friday, September 9, 2011

The Redemption of George Baxter Henry

By Conor Bowman
The Permanent Press 140 pgs
ISBN: 978-1-57962-220-6
Submitted by The Permanent Press
Rating: 3.5

re-demp-tion [re demp shuh`n] noun 
1. an act of redeeming or the state of being redeemed.
2. deliverance; rescue.
3. Theology . deliverance from sin; salvation.
4. atonement for guilt.
5. repurchase, as of something sold.

George Baxter Henry is a middle-aged attorney from Boston. He is married to Pearl. Their college-age son Billy is in a band being wooed by record companies. Iska is their 14-year-old daughter. Muriel is Pearl's mother. The entire family is on vacation in a small village in France.

OK, now try this. George is having an affair. Pearl is mostly clueless. Billy is a cocaine addict. Iska is obsessed with apples. Muriel, who discovered George's paramour, hates him. The entire family is on vacation in a small village in France for some bonding in an attempt to save themselves from themselves and each other.

It was refreshing to see an author treat this material as a farce. After all, with this material, Mr. Bowman could have chosen to write just another teleplay for Lifetime. George is not a sympathetic character but he is the center of attention, so you have to put up with him. In fact he's fairly appalling but he is an original voice, often hilarious, and offers no apologies. He is who he is. This book tells the story of how his family learns to put up with him. In the spirit of farce all issues are resolved by the conclusion of this novel, one way or another, and tied up in a neat package.   

This book puts me in mind of second chances. Because that's what redemption gives you, right? A second chance.

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P.S. I loved Iska and the apples

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