Thursday, February 4, 2010
Return Policy Book Review
Premise of the story:
Meet Willy Finneran, a washed-up genre novelist with an espresso maker that just won’t die. Ozena Webb is a customer service representative and single mother of a mentally handicapped twelve-year-old boy. Shaq is the homeless man who believes he’s everyman. This is a brilliant and poignant novel from the author of My Name Is Russell Fink.
In his second novel Return Policy, novelist Michael Snyder introduces us to three very unusual and relatable characters all dealing with tragedy. Willy Finneran, a washed-up genre novelist, has an espresso maker that just won’t die. When he calls Javatek, the company that makes the espresso maker, he doesn’t realize the needs and wants surrounding it even though he wants it gone. Ozena Webb, single mother and Javatek’s top customer service rep, is the person Willy contacts. The story begins to unfold sucking you in for more in all 4 chapters.
As for Ozena, she spends every evening playing board games with her young son who is mentally disabled from an early unknown childhood accident.
The final character, Shaq, is a small and scraggy homeless man with trauma-induced blank spots on his memory. While assisting Father Joe at the Mercy Mission, he crosses paths with Willy Finneran after an unexpected event caused by Willy while driving.
As the stories of these 3 characters intersect, the narrative deals with hope, naïveté, comic relief & childlike attraction. This unforgettable book reveals that no matter how far one has strayed from hope and faith, there is always a way to return. I believe this story is already a classic even though it has not been out a long time. It reminds me of Forrest Gump meets Fried Green Tomatoes which meets the face of God because I think all three deals with hope, faith and perseverance to be better than we all wanted to be the day before. Forrest Gump did, Idgie Threadgoode did, and God wants to meet us where we are and make us better. Just like Forrest Gump and Fried Green Tomatoes left me wanting for more, Return Policy left me asking for more. The ending was sweet and not too abrupt. I felt like I was finishing reading a good diary or journal of someone, just as the story seemed to begin. I give this book 4 ½ out of 5 stars. Thank you for your humor and southern comfort in the story Mr. Snyder!