Oh, May, where have you gone? I can’t believe we’re already in the second half of the month. This month has been rather slump-y for me, reading wise. I couldn’t seem to find a book that I was really interested in for a long time — until No Relation by Terry Fallis came along. I started reading No Relation when I was having a bad day. Coincidentally, it looked like the main character Earnest Hemmingway (no, not a typo) was having a bad day as well. You know that phrase “misery loves company”? Well No Relation was the best company I could have asked for.
A copywriter for 15 years, Earnest Hemmingway goes to work one morning only to find out he’s been let go. When he gets home, he catches his girlfriend moving out of their apartment unexpectedly. His day only gets worse when he decides to replace his driver’s license at the DMV and becomes a Youtube “sensation” when his outburst at being rejected due to his famous name goes viral. Turns out having a famous name isn’t all that it’s cracked up to be. Either strangers make terrible jokes or they flat out don’t believe Hemmingway when he introduces himself. To make his life worse, his father is dead set on having him, his first-born son, come home to run the family business even though his younger sister would be a much more suitable candidate. All Earnest Hemmingway wants to do is write. Sad coincidence, right?
No Relation is filled with lovable characters and exciting plot lines. It is full of humour, sarcasm, and wit, and it is impossible to be in a bad mood while reading it. I was delighted to recognize parts of Toronto in the book and travel all around the world with Hemmingway. His friends, the “Name Famers” are delightfully diverse and complex and they add to the story wonderfully. Although I was able to predict how everything would end, that did not diminish the catharsis I felt upon reaching the end of the novel. The characters and conflicts are developed so well that you become extremely invested in their plots. I won’t tell you if there’s a happy ending, but I will say that this book is a must read for any CanLit fans (or anyone, for that matter) and that it will keep you smiling the whole way through. I will definitely be revisiting Earnest Hemmingway and his pals in the future.
Verdict: A five star read. A light, but intelligent book that isn’t romance-focused. Has a strong group of characters and well-developed conflicts. Read this book!
Read if: You are a fan of Canadian Literature, are looking for a good laugh, have ever wondered what it would be like to live with a famous name.
If you could choose a famous name to have, what would it be and why?