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Wllliamson, Dave.

Winnipeg, Queenston House, 1987. 206pp. paper, $9.95. ISBN 0-919866-31-X. CIP

Reviewed by Alixe Hambleton

Volume 16 Number 6
1988 November

The bare bones of the plot of this novel sound like an afternoon soap opera, albeit with more sophisticated dialogue. George Bealty. respected journalist, is going through a mid-life crisis. He leaves wife and family and sets off for California in a motor home, complete with his new girl-friend, Margaret, and her daughter, Patricia. All does not run smoothly. The motor home breaks down. Margaret is less than responsive to his advances, and Patricia behaves like a typical three-year-old. The story romps along from Winnipeg to California and back again. Incidents pile on incidents in a manner reminiscent of a slapstick comedy routine, and finally George finds himself back in Winnipeg, coping with his job, his wife and his own two children, as well as with Margaret and her daughter. Love and sex take a back seat to responsibility.

George is an appealing character (one you want both to hug and shake). The reader sympathizes with his predicament but sees no real way for him to win. The female characters are less attractive and not as carefully drawn and seem little more than stereotypes. The dialogue is breezy, funny and high-spirited, but is not strong enough or consistent enough to create a memorable story.

Time is "running out" for George, and there is no real resolution to his problems. The book ends as it began, with George quietly running his hand over the spine of the book he has been reading, enjoying the feel of the firm smooth spine. Perhaps adventure is better if experienced vicariously.

This is a necessary purchase only for comprehensive Canadian collections.

Alixe Hambleton, University of Regina, Regina, Sask.
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