Monthly Archives March 2011

CROSSING THE BRIDGE, by Michael Baron, from The Story Plant

The second novel from Michael Baron, CROSSING THE BRIDGE, tells the first person narrative story of Hugh, a young man whose younger and more popular and outgoing brother had died ten years earlier in what was deemed a drunk driving accident. Hugh’s father has had a heart attack, and Hugh, after wandering for many years since his brother’s death, has returned to his hometown to be with his parents during this difficult time and to help his father run the family stationery, gifts and card store. While in town, he runs into his brother’s girlfriend from years ago and the two strike up a friendship, renewed from their fleeting friendship and secret attraction to one another from the decade prior. This is billed as a romantic book, but the romance part of it is very small compared to the rest of the story, and I definitely wouldn’t have considered this to be a love story, as it is billed.

Hugh wanders and we, the readers, wander with him, as he makes observations about the town, his past, his life, the people in the town and the events happening with his father’s health and the employees at the store. Hugh makes observations—ones I can only say are completely off the mark and wholly inaccurate—so that I find myself thinking there is no single person in the world more clueless than Hugh. He misreads his mother, his father, his friend Iris… well, just about everyone. Now, if this had been the intent of the story, or if it had even been the story itself, this might have worked. As it was, Hugh comes off as a wholly unsympathetic narcissist, selfish and very shallow. I find myself very upset with him on several occasions, and had he been a real person, I would have taken him by the collar and shaken some sense into him.

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