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Book Review: The Bellman Chronicles by Robert Hookey

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Book coverI have been trying to figure out exactly why I like this book so much. Is it that it pokes fun at the pretentious way some people behave? That is definitely a huge plus in The Bellman Chronicles. I love seeing or hearing about prats being taken down a peg or two even if it is only verbally.

Perhaps it’s because you are able to peek through the keyhole at the way others conduct themselves. I think that there is a little voyeur in all of us. Although many of the incidents in the book are quite short you get enough–it is like a reality TV series of one bad behaviour after another.

There is such a great gathering of all the different types of people that make up the world we inhabit, all passing through the doors of this hotel in Ontario, Canada. There are cougar moms, drunken college kids, not so sweet oldies, diabolical children (my favourite kid was Little Napoleon), hookers, and–although is isn’t PC to stereotype different races–there is a reason we do, and that reason shows up over and over again on these pages.

But it isn’t just the bad behaviour, and the laughs those provide, that keeps you reading. There are also moments that make you remember what’s good in the human race. The tale of the Bellman’s shoes had me smiling in a good way.

The Bellman Chronicles is divided in to two books. While the first deals with the haphazard and slightly deranged behaviour of the hotel’s guests, Book Two deals with life in general and all the terrible things that can just drive you crazy. From late night television chat line conversations (that’s a new one for me, luckily they haven’t taken on here in New Zealand), to Hollywood messing with your favourite film franchises, and the author manages to cover just about all my pet peeves with the world.

I think though that the main thing that I love about this book is that after all that goes on at his work, the author goes home and fashions a loving environment for his daughter to grow up in. With wit and humour he shows us his loving and slightly odd family. And it reminds me of my own loving but slightly odd family. The one that is just like millions of other families.

The Bellman Chronicles is a surprising book because it is unlike any other book I have read. We’d all like to think our lives are worthy of a novel. Most aren’t. Luckily, Robert Hookey’s is.

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