Sunday, October 26, 2014

Book Review - "No Relation" by Terry Fallis

Title: No Relation
Author: Terry Fallis

Meet the main character, Earnest Hemmingway. No, not "Ernest Hemingway." You can see the confusion. That confusion you're feeling is the entire premise for this book. Earnest is having a really bad day. A really really bad day. A day that culminates in Earnest shouting at a lady in the DMV just to have it all caught on video and posted on the internet. All his life, Earnest has had issues with his name, for obvious reasons. Police officers think it is a fake name. Airport personnel think it is a fake name. Employees at the DMV think it is a fake name. Earnest, who lives in New York, decides to start a club for people with similiar issues and see who shows up. Enter a motley cast of characters who have famous names, and whose unique personalities bring new life to Earnest and each other.

I really enjoyed this book. It's witty, entertaining, well-written, and downright hilarious. The saracasm and light-hearted humour made this book easy to read from start to finish (which only took a few days since I was enjoying it so much). Each character is unique and original, yet you believe each one of them could be real people in the real world.

A few of these characters get together and decide that Earnest should go on a "Hemingway" pilgrimage to try and free himself from this famous name that has been causing him grief his whole life. As someone who has read and studied Hemingway, I loved all the parts that talk about the famous Ernest Hemingway. I can see, however, how some readers may be frustrated by this part of the novel. Perhaps those readers will instead sympathize with the protagonist and his wish to be rid of Hemingway forever. These references do not overpower the book, and I'm sure even people who know nothing about the famous Ernest will truly be entertained by this book.

I found this book to be light, fun, and clever while also bringing up real issues. Fallis uses wit and humour to breach a serious topic like discrimination. Anybody who has been judged by their race, gender, age, whatever, will identify with this book, and be made to laugh at loud at the same time.

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