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Thursday, January 17, 2008

A Highly Placed Source by Michelle Dally


I've read some great books lately, and this next novel is certainly no exception. A Highly Placed Source by Michelle Dally was a fantastic read. John Irving-esque in style, it handles some pretty sensitive subject matter and pulls it off brilliantly. The story line is laugh-out-loud humor blended with sarcasm.

When I say this book is John Irving-esque, it is a high compliment indeed. I'm a longtime fan of all things Irving, and I think if he ever gets ahold of this book, he'll be jealous he didn't come up with the plot first. But don't be mistaken - Dally has her own unique voice, and it's very well developed. The characters are quirky and addictive, and the dialogue has great rhythm.

Here's the story line: Peter, a 12-year-old boy, asks God a question. A controversial question. Is it okay to - ahem - "wash the bird"? (If you don't know what that means, you'll have to read the book to find out. I am not going there.) God answers. When Peter's principal finds out, he suspends him for lying. In come the media, the politicians, the religious leaders. "A boy suspended for praying?" "A boy that hears directly from God?" And this, my friends, occurs in the first pages. The rest of the book gets even better, conquering the difficult topic of the difference between religion and spirituality.

Written in the omnipresent viewpoint (interesting, when one considers God is a major character), Dally pulls this trick off without a hitch. I've read omnipresent books that have you feeling like you're jumping all over, bounding in and out of the characters' heads. As a reader, I find it hard to attach to any one person in a book written in this style. But Dally does it so well, you might not even notice it's omnipresent. I personally can't imagine the book being written any other way.

Overall, I loved reading A Highly Placed Source. It's got humor, edge, controversy - and it makes you feel good. I finished the book wishing there were more, and I must say this is one reviewer who needed a tissue at the close. I'll be on the lookout for anything else coming from Michelle Dally, and I suggest you do the same.

I've decided to add a new twist to carp(e) libris, because I know some of you build lists of books to be read, and I'd like to help you out. For the books I review that really stand out, I'll be giving them the carp(e) libris Goldfish Award. You'll notice it under the picture of the book on the right. So here's to my first Goldfish Award! A Highly Placed Source, written by Michelle Dally and published by Ghost Road Press.

2 comments:

Jane Marie said...

If it's worthy of a Goldfish, then I must read it :)

Di said...

I too adore John Irving...so the book you reviewed took an immediate place on my TBR list. I have a friend who lives where John Irving lives and they travel in some of the same social circles. She sent me a signed copy of The Fourth Hand. Considering that Irving is notorious for not liking to sign books, I treasure that special copy!