Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Michael Snyder's My Name is Russell Fink ~ Reviewed

My Name is Russell Fink
Michael Snyder
Paperback: 368 pages
Publisher: Zondervan (March 1, 2008)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0310277272

Book Description:

Russell Fink is twenty-six years old and determined to salvage a job he hates so he can finally move out of his parents house for good. He's convinced he gave his twin sister cancer when they were nine years old. And his crazy fiancée refuses to accept the fact that their engagement really is over.

Then Sonny, his allegedly clairvoyant basset hound, is found murdered.

The ensuing amateur investigation forces Russell to confront several things at once-the enormity of his family's dysfunction, the guy stalking his family, and his long-buried feelings for a most peculiar love interest.

At its heart, My Name Is Russell Fink is a comedy, with sharp dialogue, characters steeped in authenticity, romance, suspense, and fresh humor. With a postmodern style similar to Nick Hornby and Douglas Coupland, the author explores reconciliation, forgiveness, and faith in the midst of tragedy. No amount of neurosis or dysfunction can derail God's redemptive purposes.

My Review:

If you are a fan of Ray Blackston, you are going to want to check into Michael Snyder.

With fresh and humorous storytelling, Snyder dumps us into the world of Russell Fink. Russell oozes dysfunction what with being named after his grandfather, and doomed to inherit his father's double chin. Russell fears the notoriety of both male role models and bad genes have pretty much cooked his own goose. After all, he's already killed once and just awaits the cancer that will surely be his reward.

With a sharp wit and troublesome tongue Russell both severs relationships and endears himself to a quirky cast of characters. Can Russell shed his wacky fiancee so that he can embrace true love? Will Russell ever find faith instead of empty religion? Does Russell deserve anything good or satisfying?

I wanted to hug Russell and make him a homemade meal, or at least pour him a bowl of cereal.

I found myself surprised with a completely unexpected revelation within the story which was nice. My only non-rave, but not big enough to keep it from a five star read, is that the end felt a little rushed with the unraveling of the details. But this was definitely a minor concern. If you must have "all your ducks in a row" in your endings you might have an issue with some ambiguity. Russell is a satisfying and introspective read. Fans of Annette Smith's A Bigger Life should find it appealing also.
I am a Snyder fan, and am anxiously awaiting the next release. I wouldn't mind a follow-up to Russell, I wasn't quite ready to leave him.

Reviewed by: Kelly Klepfer


Review: Russell Fink seems to be going through the motions of life but not really living it. He's got everything anyone could want - a good job, a really beautiful fiancé, good family and lots of friends, but he feels empty. What is his mission? Russell wakes up one day to find his trust-worthy companion, Sonny, is dead. Yes, he was very old, but foul play is suspected. Russell is now on a mission to find Sonny's killer...even if it's the last thing he does.

Things become clear to him as he searches for clues. Does he really love the woman that he is engaged to? He has been dating her so long it's just become a habit. Do they have anything in common? Russell goes to the doctors so much that he and his doctor know each other by their first names. His doctor asks him "Why don't you get a job you really like so you can see me less?" Russell didn't think his doctor was paying attention to how many times he was seeing him a week. After all, he was in there this time because he thought a mole he had was changing color. Wouldn't his doctor be glad that he was taking care of his body? Russell wakes up and starts living his life instead of watching it go by. No one is ready for that – not even Russell.

This book is funny, unpredictable and entertaining, while at the same time, it's about Russell looking at the serious things of life. You will never look at life the same after reading this book. You will start looking for guys like Russell in your own life and try not to laugh!! There is a fun interview in the back of the book with author Michael Snyder that will crack you up! He explains that he really isn't Russell and other important questions you want to know about the author. Discussion questions follow the interview and you get a sneak peek into the next book that will be out by Michael entitled 'Return Policy" due out in December 2008. You'll want to check that out for more laugh-out-loud fun!!

Reviewed by:
Nora St. Laurent – Book Club Servant Leader

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