Meet the Brinkmeyers. Mr Brinkmeyer, Hymie, is a middle aged American oil tycoon who moved to England when he got married to his ‘English rose’. That was a long time ago. Since then, he has fathered two seemingly eccentric children, developed an apathy for his wife, fallen in love with his secretary, and developed what he calls ‘blind spots’ – to all of the previous. Mrs Brinkmeyer, or Maggie, is in love with her therapist. Towards the rest of her family, she feels nothing. Kevin, the son, has been expelled from school on account of drug taking and is not housebound, plotting the death of his mother and writing a book about it, to plan it, well you get the picture! Karrie, the daughter, writes rebellious poetry, does not shave on account of being a rebel, and rebels. She has a little boy Cleo and another baby on the way. She has no idea who the father is or the fathers are.
At first glance, this is a supremely messed up and totally dysfunctional family. They have their share of problems and the general lack of communication amongst them means that most of the time, they’re all on their own. The books is presented to us through Hymie’s blog, and Kevin and Karrie’s personal diaries. The author Michael Cameron has told the story in a novel way, seeing as how personal blogs have mushroomed over the last few years and a lot of people find it easier to confide in nameless faceless souls on the internet than their own families. Through this, we also learn, that at the heart of all of the Brinkmeyers’ problems is a constant fear. Hymie’s fear of rejection, Karrie’s fear of failure, Kevin’s fear of ridicule, and Maggie’s fear of being a bad mother and wife.
Many twists and misadventures later the author brings the reader to a point of that tacit understanding that can only happen through words – We’ve all been there. The language is strong and abusive in places, and even through that, the author has successfully achieved to bring each character’s vulnerability to light. I am not a big fan of strong language, but I had to admit, Karrie’s poetry is… ahem… quite striking!
The plot is well-paced and interesting. It is a very good read for people who like a read on a journey, something which is easy to read but leaves you with something important to take away. Bloggers will enjoy the feeling of having fellow bloggers attention in their online space too.
My favourite part: “I am planning his death… A terrible… spectacular… bloody and painful death. Actually, make that a double death – after all there are two of them in this relationship.”