A Man Called Stan
by Jay

"When you are in the gutter, you may as well wallow."

Stan is a man's man, low on introspection and sensitivity but high on impulse and testosterone. Fortunately for him, his adventures and misadventures range from mildly amusing to downright hilarious. He turns the daily grind plus any outstanding events of his ordinary life (ranging from boyhood home to nursing home) into entertaining vignettes. The antics that many red-blooded males would love to try but don't dare, Stan gets away with. At any rate, there's nothing that a drink or two (or ten) and a quick apology can't fix, right?

Like most guys, Stan manages to marry and reproduce, increasing his philosophical qualities. There's nothing like responsibilities and a mid-life crisis to lead the mind into a deeper rumination about life. A good wife makes the situation easier. Stan even becomes concerned about current issues like human greed and environmental degradation. Ultimately, Stan must face the end of his journey alone and meet… well, one find's out when one gets there. In some ways, Stan's transition at this stage is as "ordinary" as his life was.

The story arc is a bit unusual as the narrative seems to flash forward at times to Stan's elderly life, the opposite of the literary tendency for characters to recall their lives in flashback. The writing is at times wordy but still manages to leave no stone unturned. However, the author hits the jackpot with his characterizations and strong understanding of the male psyche. He does well enough with the female side of the equation too. Structured in some ways like a modern myth, this book should appeal especially to those who enjoy a bit of philosophical pondering in their fiction.

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