Oct 16, 2009

motorbikes, ducks and crispy sweet apples

Christopher I King

  • Paperback: 232 pages
  • Publisher: YouWriteOn.com (1 Jan 2009)
  • Language English
  • ISBN-10: 1849239916
  • ISBN-13: 978-1849239912

I am so late with posting my reviews. This one I finished almost two weeks ago, but since I have limited access to Internet, I'm posting it first now. Apologies to Christopher and my readers, I promise to make it up!

motorbikes, ducks and crispy sweet apples is a book that has left me with mixed feelings after I turned the last page. I thought about it hard for several days, trying to reason with the ending. Then I reminded myself how important it is to scratch deeper, look for deeper meaning, read between the lines.
And it worked. And the ending sort of made sense. But more to it later.

Jimmy Gallagher is a man whose life is stubbornly refusing to take a straightforward course. After a failed marriage, failed job and several failed dates, he signs up for an online dating service. There he meets Katrin, a woman from the States. She needs help to break free from her husband who's a drug and gun dealer. Next thing he knows, he is on his way to Gatwick airport with a crabby cab driver. On the plane, he meets Aishvarya and tells her the story of his life.
This part of the book was hilarious. I laughed out loud reading it, something I haven't done for a long time. The dark humor in his voice just compels you to start liking Jimmy even if you hadn't by that point.While telling the story, Jimmy develops a strong relationship to Ash. She constantly reminds him that it's not too late to turn around and go home. But Jimmy doesn't.

From the moment he leaves the plane, things move toward a disaster. Nothing less was expected, though. The second part of the books was slightly trod to go through. He should have turned around and left back home . What sense does it make that he's there since there is not much for him to do? The absurdity of pursuing things that just aren't supposed to be is the point of the book. Turn around and go home or you'll be disappointed.
I kept reading nonetheless. It left me with the nagging and disturbing feeling of what the hell were you thinking? See? Ash told you straight ahead to turn around and go home. Why couldn't you listen to her? Now it's both of us who wish the ending of the book has never happened.
I realized that at some point I have become Jimmy. I hated him, but I felt with him, too. King's writing made that slip seemless. As much as you don't see how you could like a man like Jimmy, you're drawn to him for his sheer believability. He's not a hero--far be it from that; he's the typical anti-hero who, by the way, might be anyone of us.
Kudos to Christopher for writing such a funny crime novel. It's unique in any aspect. I know I'll be rereading it soon.
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