Wednesday, March 2, 2011

The Wrinkly by Paul Collis

The WrinklyMike Lewis is closing in on 40 and has been selling commercial space for TV shows for most of his adult life. Although he's done well in his chosen profession, he's coming into a mid-life crisis. His job no longer satisfies, the women he dates are shallow and materialistic, and he can no longer identify with twenty somethings. He views the way they dress and their new-fangled iPods as alien. Meanwhile his passion for Brubeck and a 57 Chevy Nomad station wagon gives him more in common with older generations rather than his current one.

While on a business trip, he stumbles across Goldenville, a retirement community. He's immediately caught up in the idea of moving in and playing golf for the rest of his life. But there's one problem, you have to be at least 60 to live there. With the help of a makeup artist, Mike endeavors to act the part. But how long can Mike go before someone figures out his secret?

We follow Mike through a series of humorous encounters that could easily play out on a sitcom. The author confesses on his website that the story started out as a screenplay. And it shows. Each scene is fully blocked and the characters' actions choreographed so well they are easy to visualize. I would think a network exec would pick this up for potential cross-generational appeal.

Collis certainly nailed Mike's disconnect and discontent, but it was hard for me at first to be sympathetic with someone so shallow. Fortunately, Mike evolves as the story progresses and, once removed from his employer, is free to see that there's more to life than selling ad space on TV.

As for the other characters, they're certainly a colorful bunch. While Collis avoids stereotypes, I found that development was a bit short. Then again, the book is only 151 pages long. With a couple of exceptions, I would've liked to have seen Collis explore Mike's interactions with his co-workers and new neighbors a bit more.

All in all, The Wrinkly is a cute story with colorful characters who get into humorous situations. It's a quick read with a message that is content to ride in the back with the top down, making for light-hearted fare and a pleasant read.

The book is available in print and various eBook formats. Check out the author's website for all the links.

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