Reviewed by Charlene Diane Jones
by Christopher Noxon
Prospect Park Books
Hardcover: 288 pages, January 20, 2015, ISBN-13: 978-1938849428
Funny is tough and Noxon pulls it off with aplomb. From the first laugh out loud incident concerning a Hollywood Awards Gala, a stranger and duck tape, to the scenes on the beach involving his son, a sea creature and several would-be firemen squirting their hoses in competition, this book rocks.
Noxon’s take on modern marriage, on his modern marriage concerns every reader because he handles the subject with warmth, a disarming amount of personal internal monologue, and a deep tenderness. We know what he yearns for with his wife, his two children, and his increasingly abundant lifestyle. His yearnings match and echo our own, one sign of a true story teller.
Noxon’s gift as character creator compels us to believe in the slightly zany, uber LA Plus One leader of the pack Huck whose apparent ease with all things, comfort with this moment’s offering appeals to the protagonist, Alex’s character. Marked by a Woody Allen type of insecurity and running commentary of self-doubt Alex emerges as a kind of “all man” in a surprising way. He finds himself slam crunched in the middle place: mid-life, mid-career change, mid-identity crisis, while his two children Sylvie and Sam seem to careen through the pages with will, demands, and all the self concerns of well parented children. His wife, the flaming Figgy appropriately alternates between workaholic frenzy, parental apologies, and wanting (what?) another child.
The story swings like a boat on a tidal wave as Alex builds his ability to discriminate between California Cool and callous shallowness, manly career and money making, and ultimately love and laughter. He offers us along the way so many many opportunities for the latter, warming us up to Alex and to our own lives.
About the reviewer: Charlene Diane Jones’ latest book The Stain reveals more about repeating cycles, and how three women’s lives remained tangled. Does one free them all? Find out more at: http://www.soulsciences.net