Reviewer Sandy Graham: Born and raised in Canada, Sandy spent 35 years with The Boeing Company in a variety of engineering and management positions. After retirement, he satisfied a long-standing urge to delve into creative writing. Sandy has authored three novels, Two Loves Lost, The Pizza Dough King and Murder – On Salt Spring?
Publisher:Book Publishers Network
In Annie’s Third Wind, Wally Carlson has created a smorgasbord of zany characters embroiled in a series of bizarre events. “Zany” and “bizarre” become understated adjectives in Wally’s hands as he often stretches beyond credibility to leave readers laughing. A departed porn star aptly named Moby Dick, a renegade war hero, a chain-smoking nun, a conspiracy mongering professor, a cross-dressing shoe fetish entrepreneur called Pickles, an exotic dancer Trish l’Dish, just to name a few. The escapades occur in rapid fire succession, 417 pages of them too numerous to even begin listing. Many mete out well earned justice, some are simply strange.
Although this is a sequel to Annie’s Second Wind, which I have not read, it stands on its own feet and one has no trouble getting into the story. However, don’t expect to be hooked by a strong plot line leading to a climactic resolution, there isn’t one. Instead there is a myriad of interwoven episodes loosely centered around life on a very small island. Perhaps the theme is best described as the struggle by the family of quirky islanders to preserve their sanctuary from the bureaucracies trying to dislodge them.
There are two good reasons to read this book. First, it is humorous throughout. One has to laugh at the characters, both their descriptions and their antics. Second, it provides an undercurrent of life styles and culture native to the Pacific Northwest. Caring for an orphaned baby orca, a vision quest and emphasis placed on natural foods are illustrations of the ecology-minded long-term inhabitants of this region.
In addition to humor, there are serious and sentimental passages sprinkled through the story. Trish l’Dish, terminally ill with ALS courageously fights to survive long enough to find a home for her twin teenage daughters. Annie is a great-grandmother anxious to live long enough to raise baby twins to an age when they can understand and remember the legacy of their family. Even Starbuck, the orphaned orca and Trooper, an old three-legged dog, play on the reader’s sympathy. Perhaps more important, the struggle to maintain the hundred and fifty year old lifestyle of the island generates empathetic concern and one wishes the ending would put that concern to rest. But it doesn’t.
If you are into humorous anecdotes involving strange characters and often far-fetched events, you will enjoy Annie’s Third Wind.
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