Friday, March 31, 2006

Meeks' The Middle Aged Man and the Sea~Reviewed

The Middle-aged Man and the Sea
by Christopher Meeks
Paperback, 145 pages
Published by White Whisker Books
ISBN 1-4116-4761-0

I just finished reading The Middle-aged Man and the Sea and other stories by Christopher Meeks. Mr. Meeks has a wonderfully fun writing style—witty, cynical and often poignant. His stories are about the stuff of life: love and heartbreak, sickness and death, desires and struggles, spirituality and the search for meaning.

A word of warning: this book is not written from a Christian perspective and the language and subject matter reflect that. It was good however, for me, to be reminded of how the world and the issues of life appear when viewed through the eyes of one who does not hold to a Christian world view.

Christian or not, there is much to relate to in Meeks’ stories. In “Green River,” a couple and their son are on a road trip. The father muses, “One day, you’re young, laughing, eating Cheetos, the next, you’re locked in a car with your wife and 11-year-old son, no one talking to each other, the acidity of anger drip drip dripping at your insides if not your wives.”

The family arrives at a hotel and the father takes the boy to a nearby truck stop where they get candy bars. The father says, “The peanuts, caramel, chocolate and Harry’s look of concentration reminded me of when candy bars were all that mattered.” Who can’t relate to that feeling one gets remembering the simplicity of childhood?

As I writer, I ate this literature up like nourishing tidbits, underlining many terrific, descriptive sentences like these:

“It looked like an ad: silver body, chrome wheels, moon roof, sparkling on the red brick driveway under a sun that also shines across town on movie stars and next to a lawn so perfect and green you want to open up his trunk, pull out a golf club, and hit a ball so hard and imperfectly it leaves a divot the size of Texas on what otherwise is an emerald carpet. I know for a fact he keeps the grass so lush thanks to an automated sprinkler system that senses when the turf is thirsty, and valves open and probably spray Perrier onto each perfect pixel before anything is able to choke or strangle or die.”

Most of the stories in this book have been published in award-winning literary journals and the book has received good reviews.

Reviewed by Janet Rubin


Kelly Klepfer said...

I love satisfying sentences. Sigh.

Gina Holmes said...

Great review, Janet. I'm thankful for knowing that it isn't written from a Biblical worldview. Sounds like a talented writer thought.