'The best books, reviewed with insight and charm, but without compromise.'
- author Jackie French

Friday 18 March 2016

Review: Thanks for the Trouble

Musician and author Tommy Wallach has created another sensational novel which follows his exceptional We All Looked Up.  How glad I am that Thanks for the Trouble found me. It is told through the powerful and unique narrative voice of the leading character, Parker Sante.

Parker lost the ability to speak six years ago after the death of his father whom he idolised. He now communicates mostly by writing in notebooks and at times with sign language. He is a loner because of his problem, but being friendless gives him more time to write his stories. His mother longs for him to be normal again, but she, too, is an emotional cripple since her husband’s passing.

Parker loves hotels. To him ‘they aren’t part of real life, as nobody is here to stay’. It is a Friday and he has skipped school again when he walks into the lobby of the Palace Hotel. That’s where he first sees Zelda and robs her purse while she is in the Ladies room. Here begins an extraordinary relationship between two total opposites.

The silver-haired Zelda is worldly, smart and very beautiful. She attracts people with her confidence, exuberance and authenticity. She is like no one Parker has ever seen or met before. As Parker and Zelda’s friendship grows, so does her mystery, for she lives with a strange secret which Parker finds impossible to believe when she confides in him. Parker’s opinionated view takes a stab at quite a few social norms. These sharp jabs spice up his image immensely.

His notebooks fill with conversations and stories as Zelda renews him. Parker’s transformation is looked at with envy by his peers. He now shines, no longer deliberately invisible. Zelda’s encouragement brings change when love becomes an exception to her ‘law of diminishing returns’.

This isn’t a simple love story about a boy who can’t speak that meets a girl who changes his life. It is about the art of storytelling, which Parker and Zelda do a great deal of within this novel. Wonderful and wacky tales and other imaginative constructions create a flow of sizzling narrative and dialogue. This kept me still except when turning the pages.

The novel pulses with energy from the writing style and language, to the unusual storyline which exposes the most vulnerable parts of human nature through its characters. Its writing is crisp, clever, and constructively superb with a stunning ending. Themes of change and renewal, truth, love and loyalty are woven into a fantastic read from a talented author, who is currently touring Australia.

Title: Thanks for the Trouble
Author: Tommy Wallach
Publisher: Simon & Schuster, $17.99 RRP
Publication Date: March 2016
Format: Paperback
ISBN: 9781471146121
For ages: 14+
Type: Young Adult Fiction