The thought of some time on a warm, sunny beach is really appealing right now. In the midst of winter, I love thinking about going outside and getting toasty warm. With this in mind, I really enjoyed picking up Mary Kay Zuravleff’s book Man Alive! recently and reading the opening scenes: a happy family wrapping up a summer beach vacation. The sun, the family camaraderie, and the warmth of summer were an appealing start to a book. Of course, there is a limit to how warm one would want to get. Getting struck by lightning, for example, goes way too far on the “getting warm” spectrum. This is, however, how Dr. Owen Lerner’s summer vacation concludes. Putting a coin in a parking meter, the quarter attracts an errant lightning bolt throwing Owen into the air, throwing his family’s life into chaos, and putting Owen permanently in the mood for barbecue.
The fateful lightning strike occurs quite early on in the book. There is no suspense about whether it will happen. Rather, this is the story of how one person’s changed role, abilities, and interests can disrupt an entire family and change the way the individuals in that family see themselves. This is a story about each member of the family. Zuravleff shifts focus between Owen, his wife, his twin college-aged sons, and his daughter in high school. They are all, each in his or her own way, dealing with their own demons and Owen’s accident serves to highlight some of the challenges they face.
Join us at Unwin(e)d March 13 at 5:30 to discuss this book that Library Journal says, “captures both the humor and pain of family life and the fluid nature of its alliances.” We’ll be meeting at Winan’s in Beavercreek. You can decide for yourself whether coffee, chocolate, or wine pairs best with a conversation about barbecue and family.
If you have any questions, you can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 775.3149. I hope to see you there on March 13th at 5:30