Sunday, 22 January 2012

My Temporary Life by Martin Crosbie.


Heroes are not born, they’re made. With strength forged by years of enduring schoolyard bullying and neglect at the hands of a promiscuous carefree mother, Malcolm Stewart learns to stand up for himself and for his friends. But sometime between his years growing up in Scotland, with his staunch Scottish father and his adulthood in Canada, Malcolm gave up on life. When beautiful Heather, with her red hair, wearing a t-shirt that reads “I Am the Revolution,” and combat boots enters his life - everything in his world changes. Malcolm falls in love with Heather. And after hearing about her abusive childhood and the daughter she was forced to leave behind, Malcolm knows he must help her get the little girl back. He has no choice– that’s what heroes do. Their journey takes them to a remote corner of Canada, where Malcolm faces trouble from being accused of kidnapping to being run off of a snowy road by an enraged psycho. Heather's story proves to be more tragic than Malcolm ever imagined. But his love for her and a little girl he has never met, gives Malcolm an opportunity to become the hero he never thought he could be.


My Temporary Life begins in Scotland in 1976, with Malcolm, the main character of the story telling us about his childhood. He is 13 years old and spends summers in Canada with his mother and the rest of his year with his father. By the time I had finished the first few pages, I knew I liked Malcolm. I felt that every second of his life was portrayed vividly and with such compassion that it would be hard for anyone to dislike this young man.Reading the story of his youth, friendships and the relationship with his father was most enjoyable. The author, Martin Crosbie, easily pulls the reader into Malcolm’s story with such skill that it felt as though I were actually there with him in the school yard.

When Malcolm travels to Canada the reader goes too and experiences all the joys and sorrows of this young man’s life. It is clear from Mr Crosbie’s writing that he has experience of both countries described in the book and to use such knowledge correctly is always a bonus for the reader.

I was so immersed in Malcolm’s young life that I have to admit to feeling a little lost when we moved swiftly onto Malcolm’s life as adult. The missing years are explained however, but nevertheless I was a little sad to say goodbye to the teenager and his adventures.

As an adult, Malcolm experiences more escapades however and this time, he has a companion; the mysterious Heather. She pulls Malcolm far away from his steady life and takes him on a journey he will never forget. At this point in the book, I felt I was in a mystery story which seemed like an interesting move on the part of the author. In some ways it appeared to be a swift shift from the earlier tone of the book, but the main threads are still there and keep the reader’s attention and enthusiasm going.

This book is written in the first person and I have to admit that I’m not a fan of that perspective. This book however surprised me greatly. To follow Malcolm’s journey from any other angle would have compromised the story. Malcolm is both our guide and our narrator; bringing emotions to life with clear, well observed descriptions. I found My Temporary Life a very good introduction to the work of Martin Crosbie and it would certainly encourage me to read more of his work in the future.


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