Saturday, November 15, 2008

Review: Rocket Man by William Hazelgrove

I received an Advance Review copy of this book from the publisher through the Library Thing Early Reviewer program. I got it super fast, which always makes me think the publisher is very motivated! Therefore, I felt compelled to set aside the other book I was reading and read this one right away so I could make a review.

This book is hilarious. Not being given to laughing out loud at books, it was unusual for me to have several people asking me "What are you reading, anyway?" because I was cracking up. Basically it is the story of the quintessential Rennasaince man stuck in the cookie cutter home life of modern suburbia. It is filled with good questions, like 'how is it that we are satisfied with the material existence we've created for ourselves?' And it asks these questions without being maudlin; in fact, helps us laugh at ourselves as we see ourselves clearly in the narrative.

There are a couple of things I didn't like about the book. Shallow as it may be, the cover doesn't appeal to me. And I confess to being one of those people who has and does pick up a book and buy it simply on the basis of the cover or the "feel" of the book. I don't think this cover adequately captures the essence of the book. Granted, this may not be the cover they are planning for release. Also, there was an enormous amount of swear words in this book. I'm not a prude and I will happily read a book where there are swear words if it seems an integral part of the story. The sheer volume of profanity in this book, however, made me feel like it was gratuitous. This isn't a huge problem for me - I just skip right over it - but if I was listening to it on audio, it would be a big factor.

All in all, it's going to be a winner. I read a blurb that said William Hazelgrove is comparable to Richard Russo, and I'd agree. It is a great character study and an entertaining read.