Thursday, October 30, 2014

Staff Pick - The Full Ridiculous by Mark Lamprell

Mark Lamprell must be a parent of teenagers. In his novel, The Full Ridculous, he paints a very real feeling picture of life with adolescents - with the intensity of its highs and lows, the anxiety and frustration you feel when things are out of your control and the intense relief when all goes well.

Michael O'Dell is a movie critic who takes a risk and quits his job in order to write a book on Australian cinema. When the novel opens, his world is turned upside down as his is struck by a car. While he has no broken bones, he is battered and injured and faces a recovery time. Just as this blow arrives, his teenage children begin to spiral out of control. Son Declan is certainly holding, if not using and selling, drugs. Daughter Rosie, gets into a feud with a rich and unpleasant girl from a vindictive family, which leads the O'Dell family victim to an aggressive and dubious police officer. As the title indicates, the once quiet and peaceful family spirals further and further out of control as events become increasingly ridiculous.

This is quite a pleasant book, a quick weekend read. It's sometimes funny, certainly offbeat, with characters which are entirely relatable and sympathetic. Lamprell uses the unusual literary device of writing in the second person. "You have been hit by a car", "you are staring at the ceiling of the hospital." The "you" is Michael O'Dell and the effect is to draw you into his world intimately, causing you to share a bit in his fear and sadness when he says, "The good part of your life is over. The bad part has begun.

This domestic story from a man's perspective will likely be appreciated by readers who enjoyed

The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion.
"A classic screwball romance about a handsome but awkward genetics professor and the woman who is totally wrong for him. A first-date dud, socially awkward and overly fond of quick-dry clothes, genetics professor Don Tillman has given up on love, until a chance encounter gives him an idea. He will design a questionnaire - a sixteen-page, scientifically researched questionnaire - to uncover the perfect partner." Discover

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