By Lynn Willoughby
No Relation ~ Terry Fallis
This author tells the best stories! Earnest Hemmingway – “no relation”, to the author, loses his wallet in New York city. When he goes to apply for a new driver’s license, he is laughed at by the clerk at the DMV and has a colossal melt down. Of course, someone films the entire embarrassing event and posts it on social media. Not only is he fed up by his own antics, but he is truly sick of the problems his famous name has caused him for his entire life.
He posts an ad in the NY Times for a meeting of others who bear the cross of having a famous name. He has no real expectations of how many will show up. Maybe no one will come at all. At 7pm there is no one in attendance. At 7:05 – there are nine people! Included in their number are – Mario Andretti, who can’t pass his driver’s test, Diana Ross, Marie Antoinette, who operates the “Let Them Eat Cake” bakery, Mahatma Ghandi, Jesse Owens, John Dillinger and others. Hem is elated.
This is a delightful read. As with other books by Fallis, one has to read every word as he slips in puns, innuendos and sarcasm which can easily be missed. The dreams and fears of each member of the group are their way of introduction, and each has been mocked, refused service or admittance and bullied because of their famous name. The “Name Fame” group quickly bonds. When they are asked to join a local softball league they agree and from then they begin to spend a lot of free time together in small groups of two or three.
Of course, there is the backstory of Hem’s father pressuring him to take over the reins as the third generation in the family business “Hemmingwear” – a men’s underwear factory. That in itself struck me as very funny.
This Canadian author is one of my favourites to read during these stressful times. His books always have me laughing, and I have enjoyed every one.
- Best Laid Plans
- One Brother Shy
- and several others
The Chicago stockyards operated for 106 years, helping Chicago become know as the “hog butchering capital of the world”, and also the centre for the meat packing industry in the USA for several decades. 1,410,000 hogs were butchered over the the winter of 1864-65. The site had 2300 separate livestock pens and could hold 75,000 hogs, 21,000 cattle and 23,000 sheep at any one time.