It was a year ago when my eyes first laid upon ‘Things Go Flying’ by Shari Lapena, as it crossed my desk at work. Ain’t that cover just a sight for sore eyes? Well, it sure did grab my eye. And so, I dove right in. Thank my lucky stars for embarking on this new self Challenge, because it was an absolute game-changer!
As I embark on my literary journey, I shall delve into the unknown and discover new authors. To aid me in my quest, I shall gather biographical information on each scribe to better understand their works.
”Things Go Flying’ was an absolute gem! The humor was dry as a bone, the characters were truly one-of-a-kind, the plot was delightfully quirky, and the literary references were as plentiful as they were profound. Ah, there’s nothing quite like the thrill of books making direct references to other books, it’s simply delightful.
Once upon a time, there were four members of the Walker family, each with their own unique outline. Harold, at the crossroads of life, Audrey, the quintessential homemaker with a hidden agenda, and their two adolescent sons, John and Dylan, who are in the throes of teenage angst.
Harold is on his way to bid farewell to his long lost comrade, whom he hasn’t crossed paths with in a decade and a half. As the plot thickens, we are granted ample opportunity to acquaint ourselves with each and every member of the family.
Their idiosyncrasies and disparate lifestyles are revealed, as are the intricate webs that bind them together, shrouded in mystery and concealed from one another. The beginning was a bit of a slow burn, but soon enough, I was hooked and couldn’t put it down.
Their deadpan remarks and thoughts about each other were a classic example of a long and normal marriage where intimacy has taken a backseat. It was funny in a subtle way, yet it revealed the truth about their relationship.
‘Things Go Flying’ holds a plethora of secrets, and they all come tumbling out as Harold reaches his breaking point, evident to all and sundry (including his colleagues and boss).
Audrey feels like she’s carrying the weight of the world on her shoulders, with no one to lend a helping hand or show any gratitude for her hard work. Her boys are spreading their wings and taking risks, venturing into unknown territory that she can barely fathom.
As the wise Paul Quarrington once said, “the universe has a funny way of making extraordinary things happen to ordinary people.” That just about sums up this book, if you ask me.
The plot thickens as the family experiences some wild happenings. Harold’s crisis, coupled with a few bumps on the noggin, uncovers that he has inherited his mother’s supernatural ability to communicate with the deceased.
This is a secret he has kept hidden from everyone. He keeps it under wraps, for fear of being labeled as a loony. His actions had consequences, and he was forced to come up with a plan of action at work, also known as the ‘Harold Walker Action Plan’, as an alternative to taking a long-term stress leave.
He must reach out for assistance as a crucial component of this scheme. With a steadfast conviction against seeking therapy, he arranges a meeting with a wise philosopher at the esteemed university. It was a classic case of fish out of water when Harold found himself in the company of Will, a sprightly philosophy professor, discussing the meaning of life.
Oh, what a joy it was for Harold when Will bestowed upon him the gift of bibliotherapy during his third visit, presenting him with a copy of Candide to peruse before their next rendezvous. And lo and behold, in their subsequent discourse, Harold’s existential quandaries discover a North Star to abide by.
It was a real pleasure to read, especially since the writer never got too serious or preachy when Harold had his epiphany about tending to our own garden despite the chaos of the world, which is beyond our grasp. She keeps her wit sharp and her storytelling effortless.
Little did anyone know, Audrey was harboring a secret so big, it could shake the very foundation of her being. She kept it locked away, never to be spoken of unless absolutely necessary. Well, it seems like trouble is brewing in this family. The eldest son, John, has found himself in a bit of a pickle after crashing their car and now they’re facing a massive lawsuit.
Meanwhile, the younger son, Dylan, is up to no good, hiding drugs under his mattress and dreaming of becoming an actor instead of focusing on his studies. Oh, the drama! Little did they know, poor Harold had fallen victim to the treacherous crime of identity theft, leaving a trail of monstrous bills in his wake.
Through thick and thin, ‘Things Go Flying’ never fails to keep things light, clever, and thoroughly entertaining. Harold’s Gift really ties the story together and makes it all make sense.
The portrayal of Harold’s lack of direction as he approaches middle age, and Audrey’s yearning for a larger stage than the culinary world, truly struck a chord with me. Ah, the return of an old friend, even from beyond the grave! How delightful to see Harold reunited with his former bestie.
The tale, while imparting wisdom on navigating life’s curveballs, never forgets to keep things light-hearted. It’s a tale of a regular family navigating through the complexities of contemporary existence, with a few quirks thrown in for good measure.
Amidst the chaos, it provides a glimmer of hope and a fresh perspective on everyday existence. This one was an absolute delight. I must say, I approached it with zero expectations, but boy was I pleasantly surprised!
It was an absolute delight to read from start to finish.
If you like reading Shari Lapena, discover her books in order.
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About the Author
Mia Lopez is an eclectic reader who immerses herself in a wide range of genres, including contemporary fiction, thrillers, historical dramas, and young adult literature.
With a background in literature and education, Mia brings her expertise in storytelling and narrative structure to her reviews.