Tuesday, November 19, 2013
Elmo by Matt Shea
If that sounds like some kind of science-fiction starting, well, sorry to disappoint. What I'm trying to say that Elmo is actually a role played by many people. You see, in the town of Miner, jobs are scarce and the fathers don't have enough money. So they take turns being 'Elmo' to try and get some cash. Of course, they keep this a secret from their wives and kids.
Ben Skate, is one of the most respected men in town. And of course, he's also one of those playing Elmo. He's also the most loving, generous and God-fearing person you can meet. Seriously, I don't think he actually does anything bad. It would be annoying in most cases, but since he's struggling against joblessness and poverty, I ignored the too-much-perfection stuff most of the time.
The other protagonist of the book is Sam Skate, Ben's son. Sam is an all-round nice guy and a good baseball player, but when he finds out about his dad's secret life, he decides to do all that he can to help. The only part of his character that jarred with me was how he decided to get back at this guy that hurt him (while he was Elmo). It was a move calculated to cause physical injury while looking like an accident and made it seem as though Sam is not really a good guy, just conditioned to behave like one. The fact that the rest of the men were encouraging him to do so made me wonder what kind of people the men of the town really were.
But, if I were to ignore that, this is a heart-warming story about how a small town takes care of itself during an economic crisis.
Disclaimer: I got a free copy of this book as part of the VirtualBookworm Blog tours in exchange for a free and honest review.