Sunday, June 29, 2008

Apart from the Crowd-Anna McPartlin

Apart from the Crowd
Anna McPartlin
Downtown, Aug 2008, $15.00
ISBN: 1416569723

Life to Mary is an archipelago of tragedy as one island of loss leads to the next island of loss. Usually this means the death of a loved one like her child, but she muses that it can be less final for instance when she was twelve, her new puppy Mr. Monkels lost a part of an ear in a freaky fishing accident.

However as Mary needs to move past the latest trauma, her cousin Ivan's wife dumped him and took their kids with her. Her best friend Penny loves married alcoholic Adam, who happens to love his wife and Penny; and plans to keep both women in his life. Then there is her new neighbor Sam, a former music world VIP until drugs destroyed his career and his life. He is trying to remain clean, but like the other people in Mary’s life and even herself, hide their indiscretions from one another.

Although with five you get the entire buffet not just an egg roll; this well written character study is overwhelmed at times with too much angst oozing from each player. The story line engages the audience who empathizes with each key character; however also the weight of the collective quintet feels overwhelming. Still Anna McPartlin makes a strong case that Dean Martin was right that “Everybody Needs Somebody Sometime” to share the joy and sorrow of life.

Harriet Klausner