Monday, June 05, 2006

An Unfinished Book

An Unfinished Life

By Mark Spragg

This is a book about beginnings, though it starts out at a dead end ranch whose denizens shouldn’t be making any long range plans - even the dog is on its last legs. Einar, the geriatric rancher and sauna buff is pining for his dead son. He holds his daughter-in-law responsible for killing the son and doesn’t know he has a granddaughter. The ranch gets an inoculation of life with the arrival of said young granddaughter and the daughter-in-law, Jean. Jean is a professional punching bag who is on the run from her latest mistake, a very weak antagonist, named Roy. Ala “Second Hand Lions”, the granddaughter charms the curmudgeonly old rancher and though there are no lions there is an old grizzly bear that mauled Einar’s war buddy.

This book was highly predictable, the antagonist wasn’t very antagonizing (he gave up way to easily), Einar makes nice with mom, and Roy gets his. Everyone, including the bear, winds up living happily ever after. The book wraps up suddenly leaving the impression the author had hit his page count and wasn’t going to write any more than what he was getting paid for. I guess if you are looking for a “feel good” book with no intellectual challenges, no unsettling surprises, and a fairytale ending, this is your book. I think Mr. Spragg owes John Whitman some money, though.