01 December 2008

Rocket Man

I received and Early Reviewer's copy of Rocket Man by William Elliott Hazelgrove through LibraryThing's Early Reviewers program. In general I am predisposed to like these books because I had some initial interest in reading it based on the description and that was certainly the case with this book. I was quite pleased that I was chosen to receive this book. Unfortunately this book did not live up to my expectations at all.

Rocket Man is a story of middle-aged, middle class white men's angst. It is the story of Dale Hammer living and struggling in suburban America and battling both with and for the "American Dream." Dale is, in my opinion, the worst kind of snob -- the kind who despises people for finding success and/or happiness in situations where he cannot and therefore looks down on those people as being less intelligent. Worse than being a snob, he is also a hypocrite. We are supposed to feel sorry for him because his father wasn't there for him growing up and yet he cannot stop himself from disappointing his own son at every turn. His own father mis-treated his mother and yet he mis-treats his wife albeit not in the same way it is still mis-treatment. There is no redeeming moment, no better qualities that shine through Dale. The female characters are paper doll thin stereotypes. The plot itself only loosely hangs together. And although the last couple of pages try to redeem him and give him a happy ending, it is hard to believe Dale won't sabotage this happiness as he has sabotaged all other happiness in his life.

After visiting the author's website, I see that this book is supposed to be satire and I think I missed that. I'm not sure if that's me or the book.

[My original post included some negative comments about the copy-editing, but I received a note from the author that the copy I received was an un-corrected galley. I looked for that on my book, but it didn't say it anywhere so I thought it was a final version. I'm glad it is not the final version. My apologies to the author and editor.]

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