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Sorry Harper Collins, but I refuse to pander to the trend for non-capitalised titles, just as you refuse to pander to me – an old-school child of the seventies. It might have been a tad dull to be at an Aberdonian primary school that focused on the four Rs (reading, writing, arithmetic and religion), but I will be forever grateful to Miss Farrell for teaching me how to punctuate!
However, I ramble on, and its generally thought to be a good idea these days to focus on the plot of a novel, rather than the punctuation. So, as this is the year 2019 – here goes!
‘Time to Say Goodbye’ by S. D. Robertson does have a plot, and it makes a reasonable read if don’t have a lot of spare time and just want something quick and easy to read alongside your microwave meal; but I have to say that its not the first time, I’ve read about a ghost who’s torn between spending more time with his daughter on Earth, or taking the elevator up through a spot of bright light to Heaven!
It is, however, the first time I’ve read about a ghost going by the name of Curtis (Maura, are you cracking on with someone else already? Did you really have to bump Curtis off Loved-Up Island this soon?)!
But I do find it a little hard to get my living head around the references made by Curtis to his ‘mind’. Does a ghost, lacking in the skull to hold a brain in, have a mind? And, in Chapter 16, I spend an inordinate amount of time wondering how the ghost of Curtis, who can’t pass through closed doors, got himself into the empty back seat of his mum’s Audi. Seeing as his mum and sister got into the front, and are not aware of Curtis’ presence, then who opened a back door for him? That’s assuming it’s a five-door car – but, if it’s a three-door car, who lifted the front seat up for him to get into the back?
To make matters worse, whilst I’m distracted by this very serious issue, the author decides it’s time for the car to halt – at which point, Curtis crouches ‘into the gap between the two front seats, ready to make a fast exit’. His sister gets out of the car and with ‘practised precision’, Curtis rolls ‘out behind her’. This is infuriating. Why does the author go to such much bother explaining how Curtis got out, when no mention is made of how he (it) got in there in the first place?
Not that I want to pick the book apart any further, but I’m going to anyway, then how does Curtis’ father, in hospital after a serious stroke paralysing his right side, both hold and type into his mobile phone using just his left hand?
Still, it’s comforting to be told that there is, after all, life after death. And, whereas I can’t possibly over-look the other flaws in the plot, I’m more than happy to go along with this one. And, I’m rather pleased that entrance to Heaven isn’t barred to anyone who’s broken one or more of the ten commandments. God, in this case, isn’t at all phased by a respectable grandfather’s long-term-extra-marital affair, or by Curtis’ confession of the occasional infidelity during his wife’s pregnancy.
For anyone out there anxious about whether their nose-picking, burping or farting habits will knock them back at the pearly gates, then don’t quit. Just keep on going at it. There’s nothing to forgive. Up there – it’s a self-cleaning-free-for-all – anything goes! I’ve even heard that the spirits are partial to a little light entertainment from self-acclaimed-funny, middle-aged, and tutu-clad eccentrics.
Forget it God. I might be giving up the day job, but I’m a talented mid-lifer and I’m not going up anywhere! (Except perhaps en pointe, up the steps to the stage at The Royal Opera House, or the O2, or the …..)
Seriously, though (me, serious?), then this book is absolutely worth a read, in spite of my disparaging comments about the plot. It’s really lifted my spirits! (My reverie of giggles being nothing to do with the fact that I only have Two More Days left of the day job!)
Copyright owned by Jay Cool, July 2019
P.S. Sorry, S. D. Robertson, I haven’t been entirely honest with my readers. In actuality, your novel, complete with the spirit of Curtis, made an absolutely fantastic table-mat for my microwave meal. Unfortunately, since that occasion, I have learnt that it is bad luck to eat over the dead. In absolving the deceased of all his sins, the eater carries the burden on her own shoulders. Could this be why the ageing poet, Ricardo Scribblero, is still Jay Cool’s one and only blog follower?