Tuesday, September 21, 2010

'Walking on Electric Air' by Stephen Cubine: pure reading joy

I found Stephen Cubine looking for reviewers for his book on Writer Gazette. The description made it sound absolutely fascinating. I was a little skeptical, since the book was published by a very small press, 19 West Publishing, Inc. My skepticism was misplaced. It may not have been picked up by a big publisher (yet), but Walking on Electric Air is pure reading joy.

This is the kind of book that makes you say "Yeah!" when you read the last page.

The principle characters are Dottie, Shelby and Lynda. Each of them has issues. Dottie is a housewife so desperate, she's tried to kill herself again and again. The "perfect" life somehow doesn't make her happy. Shelby, a mechanic, has been an alcoholic mess since a terrible crash at the Indy 500. Lynda works at a dead-end job in a tiny Arkansas town...and, despite her Nashville aspirations, may have the worst singing voice known to humanity.

They may be a ragtag band, a sort of Thelma and Louise Plus One, but Dottie, Shelby and Lynda are all totally lovable. Dottie initiates their wild road trip through the South when she suggests Shelby find his long-lost daughter. They never lose sight of that goal, even when confronted with an angry boyfriend, a mother with deeply-buried secrets, unhappy cowboys, slaughtered hogs, and a duffel bag full of adult toys.

Walking on Electric Air is riotously funny, and it also has heart and soul--my favorite combination. I give it five stars because this is the kind of book you hate to put down.

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