Sunday, November 28, 2010

To Nourish And Consume by Ryan O'Reilly

Brian Falk has returned home.  His parents still live in the lakeside town he grew up and where his family had a heritage of building boats.  Brian, on the other hand, gave up the expectation that he would be the next generation involved in the boatyard.  When he left to go to college, he didn't return for ten years.  Instead he spent the time traveling and writing, and lived in Boston.  As he nears thirty, he realises that big-city life is not what he wants.

Yet returning home is not an easy transition.  His high school years were consumed by a relationship he had with two of the "rich kids" in town.  His family was middle class, respected as artisans but not rich or famous.  As a tourist town, there were summer people who spent the rest of their moneyed lives in other locations.  Brian was friends first with Dabney, who started as a shy boy who grew up to be demanding and petulant.  They both became friends with Jackie; a beautiful girl who grew into a temptress who gained her power by making everyone around her emotionally dependant on her.  Brian left for college in disgust after both he and Dabney fell in love with Jackie, and she decided to go with what she had always known and chose Dabney for his money and connections.

Brian settles into town slowly, getting an apartment, working part-time for the newspaper and then starting to work at the boatyard with his dad while waiting for the time to be right to work on another book.  He connects with old friends, and meets a new woman, Alissa, the little sister of a former high school buddy.  He doesn't expect to see Dabney or Jackie again, but that is exactly what happens.  They are in town and try to draw Brian back into their games and deceptions.  Can Brian carve out the satisfactory life that has so far eluded him, or will he be drawn back into the competitive, shallow world of the moneyed tourists?

This book is recommended for readers who are interested in stories of individuals finding their life paths and resolving past hurts.  O'Reilly portrays a man caught between the past and the present, and the difficulty of deciding which will rule his world. 

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