Secrets of Men…in a Lifeboat, debut novel of Todd R. Baker, was the latest Goodreads giveaway this pedometer geek reader had the privilege of reading. This is the extended review.
Secrets of Men…in a Lifeboat
by Todd R. Baker
Published by Aqueous Books, 2016
Writing this review was difficult because this reader both loved this novel and hated this novel. On one hand it is so upbeat and positive, and on the other hand it is a downer and negative. Is this possible? Absolutely, since the protagonist, Luke Morrow, is both a decent, likeable person and also a absolutely deplorable jerk. Without telling too many spoilers, the story is divided into two parts.
As the story begins, down-on-his-luck, single father Luke loves his eight-year-old son Trevor; however, he has over-reached with an entrepreneurial enterprise causing him to lose his job, his home, and maybe even time with his child. To add to his troubles, his ex-wife and her new husband are contemplating moving across the country and planning on taking Trevor with them.
With everything weighing him down, he is contemplating suicide. On the verge of killing himself, Luke undergoes a miracle or actually many of them. Luke then becomes a successful, but brutal man, taking no prisoners as he uses friends, employees, lovers, and anyone who crosses his path until they become liabilities. He becomes everything he thought he was destined to be when he was down and out. Yet, in the end, the outcome may be the same when a monumental choice must be made that will affect his son and him.
This decision will be one of life or death, and which will he choose? Can (and will) he make the right choice? Will there be one more miracle for Luke?
A few impressions from the novel: This reader loved the interactions between Luke (before) and Trevor. He is obviously a great father, who loves his kid and tries to do everything he can to make a good life for him. On the other hand, the interactions between Luke (after) and Trevor are downright sad and shows just how brutal a man Luke has become. Although though there were plenty of memorable characters in the story, one ancillary character stood out in this reader’s mind: One Leg. The cover of the book, that of a budding lemon tree, which Luke and Trevor call the lemonette tree, was absolutely gorgeous, too.
An issue worth noting was the constantly changing name of Luke’s assistant. Sometimes it was Stacy; other times it was Tracy (one time on consecutive pages). Intentional or not, it was confusing and frankly, this reader wasn’t sure which was the correct name or if they were really two different characters.
One particular passage struck this reader as truly profound. Starting the quotes with Luke’s words, alternating with Trevor’s words, and so on,
“…you still remember what my real job is, the only important one?”
“My job is to love you. What’s your job?”
“Your job is to be a kid. And you know what I say? The two easiest jobs in the world.” (page 15)