Rock­ets Ver­sus Grav­ity

Broken Pencil - - Book Reviews -

Richard Scars­brook, 200 pgs, Dun­durn Press, dun­durn.com, $19.99

Richard Scars­brook’s novel starts with a lum­ber­jack named Stan. I very quickly grew fond of Stan, only for him to die right off the bat. (It’s in the first ten pages, so I don’t think this is a spoiler.) Any­way, said lum­ber­jack is very good at los­ing his wed­ding ring and man­ages to lose it four times, and these rings go out into the world and af­fect other peo­ple’s lives af­ter he is dead. This set of rings is the bind­ing plot de­vice of this novel, and they’re fairly ef­fec­tive mov­ing through the var­i­ous pro­tag­o­nists’ lives in a well-crafted and en­joy­able way.

Still, there were per­haps one or two in­stances too many of this “ran­dom con­nected hap­pen­stance.” In one ex­am­ple a char­ac­ter finds the ring only to thor­oughly spell it out that he found it af­ter his ri­val dropped it and that it was his lucky ring. Some­times show don’t tell is still a good rule to write by.

I do wish that we had seen more of the char­ac­ters Clemen­tine and Wheelie (who is a wheelchair user, not “wheelchair-bound” should the writer want to use a less of­fen­sive lan­guage), two of the more in­ter­est­ing and en­gag­ing char­ac­ters. Clemen­tine’s story did wrap up in an in­cred­i­bly sat­is­fy­ing way, but Wheelie was robbed. I’d ex­pected a much more on­go­ing and epic bat­tle for the park­ing lot spot (you can imag­ine the sce­nario), which would’ve been pretty amus­ing I think, but Wheelie took care of it in one chap­ter and then dis­ap­peared for most the book but for a quick nod later on.

The re­cur­ring ref­er­ences to the book within the book, YOU DE­SERVE BET­TER! YOU DE­SERVE MORE!, were hi­lar­i­ous and well placed, adding some much needed hu­mour to oth­er­wise de­press­ing sit­u­a­tions. Scars­brook does pull to­gether the rings sto­ry­lines really well, ev­ery time a ring popped up (ex­cept for the afore­men­tioned Kee­gan’s) I was pleas­antly sur­prised. Over­all, Rock­ets Ver­sus Grav­ity was a good read, and it took me less than a day to read it be­cause I was so cu­ri­ous to see where it was go­ing to go. I loved get­ting to read a book set in Toronto and small-towns much like my own, I just wish that some of the side char­ac­ters had got­ten a bit more time. (Sid­ney Dr­may)

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