Fresh FIction Box Not To Miss

A soothing nightcap….THE WORTHY

October 17, 2006

The WOrthy by Will ClarkeLast night I was rather tired … still recuperating I think… so I definitely needed a bedtime reading that was short, light, and not too thought provoking. It would be nice if it wasn’t too heavy to hold as well, so that left out an assortment of ARCs, hardcovers and other miscellany waiting for me to read as “homework.” Ah, when did my reading turn from purely pleasure to “homework.” A dreaded term, isn’t’ it?

So I settled for a light weight, at least in heft, book. One I’ve been urged relentlessly to read for months now. I’ll be honest, his first book took me FOREVER to get through and I really didn’t understand it at all. Figured it was my age, but from the moment I read the first paragraph of THE WORTHY by Will Clarke, I was hooked.

Yes, I’ll admit I have a skewed sense of humor, not exactly sophomoric, never did get into those slapstick comedy bits, but the humor in THE WORTHY was subtle and invigorating and appealed to me. I stayed up way past my assigned bedtime, past the third ridiculous episode of Dexter to finish every last word of THE WORTHY and to chuckle to the confusion of my husband.

Here it is in a nutshell, Conrad goes off to college, the rich spoiled scion of a Shreveport family, to get drunk, laid and rushed — ah, join, his father (and uncle’s) fraternity. As a legacy (previous family males were members) it was a given. and Conrad manages to revel in every minute of college life — especially the parts of being drunk, laid and pledge of Gamma Chi. All works well until he can’t stand another second of the relentless, painful, not-quite-right hazing and is struck down by the psychotic fraternity president, Ryan. Obviously demented — Ryan works out, whitens his teeth, beats ups his girlfriend, snorts cocaine, and is generally a blight on society, or in other words, a future bank president.

Conrad is dead but not gone and finds being a ghost not exactly as advertised. No one can hear him, even if he shouts, oh, except for the old, crotchety house cook, Miss Etta. Since she’s black, it’s Louisiana, no one takes anything she says seriously, so Conrad is stuck. No revenge on his murder by Ryan, no stopping the relentless beating of the beautiful Maggie, no consoling his ex-girlfriend Ashley, no putting cocaine snorting, psychotic Ryan in his place. Until, well, Conrad perseveres and finds he can inhabit sleeping, comatose bodies — preferably ones that are drunk. And let’s be serious here, finding a drunk body to “borrow” isn’t a problem on a campus (LSU) with a keg party every night.

It doesn’t go as planned, but then that is the charm of a good book by a talented author. The storytelling of THE WORTHY is fabulous. It sucks you in to find out what happens next to Miss Etta, Conrad, Maggie, Ashley, and even the rotten Ryan. None of these characters are “heroic” but they are all charming and you probably know someone like them 🙂

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