by Stuart McLean
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This was a funny collection of stories about everyday life. It happens to be everyday life in Canada, but it seemed pretty applicable to life in any 1st world nation.
The stories are all about the fictional Dave and Morley, their 2 kids and their various friends and neighbors. All the stories were good, and easy to identify with. Among my favorite bits:
- Dave's father Charlie singing about an upcoming math test to the tune of Big Spender
- "Labor Days" which focuses on some of the things about being a Mom that challenge Morley. My sister should read this, or maybe just keep her toothbrush in her own room to be on the safe side.
The best part of the stories for me was the insight about relationships. Especially how easily they can go off the rails, or not, based on whether you recognize a landmine before you step on it.
"When someone you love is upset enough to suggest calling the police over a missing smoke bush, you have two choices. You can, if you don't care how the rest of the day goes, say, 'The plant police? We should phone the plant police? Are you out of your mind?" Or you can muster as much affection as possible and say, as Dave did, 'You stay with the plants. I'll call the police." Then you go inside and stand in the kitchen for what feels like an appropriate amount of time before you come back outside and lie. You say, 'They are sending out a car. and if they see anyone with a smoke bush they are going to stop them. On the spot.' Dave considered adding something about how they were going to check the florists in the area, but the thing about a successful lie is not going too far." (p. 104)
Thy Vinyl Cafe was a program on CBC radio hosted by Stuart McLean who lived in Toronto until his recent death. This book counts toward the Canadian Book challenge.