Tuesday, February 28, 2012

BOOK: Extreme Vinyl Cafe by Stuart McLean

Extreme Vinyl Cafe by Stuart McLean, 295 pages

Canadian Book Challenge 5

I bought this book because it contained the story, "The Waterslide". I caught the end of it on the radio one day, and the image that was conjured in my mind was so hysterical, so much so that I needed to have more of it. I read just "The Waterslide" as soon as I got the book, and laughed. A lot. When I read the whole book recently, I laughed in several parts, but again during "The Waterslide". The slow build, the memories of childhood, and how the rules of childhood are different, but they can be remembered, make it a pretty excellent read. I often like the Sam stories the best.

Until I read a Stephanie, or Morley, or Dave, especially if Mary Turlington shows up. When Mary Turlington appears in "Dave's Funeral", his revenge on her is beautiful. Not really revenge, but an outcome that favors Dave. McLean can do all kinds of stories, from touching, to slapstick, to Three's Company mix-ups, but he always manages to make the people real, and to connect to the reader, evoke emotions through laughter.

There are some really great stories - "Rat-a-Tat-Tat" which has Dave accidentally locking himself in his car trunk on Christmas Eve. "A Trip to Quebec", which every English Canadian child seems to take some during their middle school years, and they are all the same bus ride and hotel stay. "The Lottery Ticket" was a lovely treatise on hope, and dreams. You can't go wrong with a Vinyl Cafe collection of stories.