Plot: Lee is having a bad summer. His dream girl is his best friend's girlfriend, his oldest buddy is being stalked by the news because they think he kidnapped a teenager, and his drug dealer has cut him off. At the edge of turning thirty Lee finds himself at the crossroads everyone has to face at some point, only he's not so sure he's ready for it. But somewhere between hamming it up for the news reporter to get them off his buddy's tail and starting an affair he manages to fit in one last youthful summer in Montreal.
I could sit here and feed you some hype about this novel telling you it's the next big thing. I could do that. And you know what, I'd be right, as you would be to believe what I tell you.
It's rare that a novel comes along that has me wanting to share it with people before I've even finished reading it. (I actually carried it around the grocery with me yesterday and showed it to a few people) It's beyond imaginable that I would want to share anything with my mother, but I found myself telling her the basic plot of this story and showing her the book jacket.
The design by which I think is brilliant! It gives the cheeky-humour that this story is ripe with an extra visual expression.
Doug Harris has opened a world that goes beyond borders, that anyone with a longing for missed chances and homegrown fantasies can relate to. It just happens that it's a Canadian story which lovingly embraces elements of it's maple roots.
You get the sense right off that Lee, the main character has a hole in his heart, something is missing from his life, only he hasn't figured out himself what that is. Then you are introduced to Honey. The center of his world. Only she belongs to his best friend, a best friend who is like a brother. From there a cast of sweet, sour and very real people float into the plot and you soon forget you are reading and feel more like sitting in a friend's kitchen hearing a tale of youth.
Following Lee down his urban rabbit hole was both enchanting and familiar. He could have easily been to a major degree myself (I had moments where I could easily have replaced the male components with female ones) or any number of guys I have known over the years.
The character of Henry was touching in a mix of paranoia and sadness given his underscored innocence towards what the media hounds were doing to him. You can understand how the rest of the characters flip flop in their support.
I found myself laughing out loud at moments, and booing at others. The character of Cuz, a street weasel, had me at one point thinking of people I had grown up with, but never got to see get theirs. There is a character I am sure is waiting, plotting and getting ready for the sequel to let loose.
Doug Harris proves with this novel that coming of age does not need be attached to a number, just a reason.
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