Some Sort of Normal
Richard Grove / Tai
Author: Richard Grove / Tai
Title: Some Sort of Normal
ISBN: 978-1-927725-63-4 = 9781927725634
Trade Paperback: 168 pages – 6 X 9
Genre: Literary-Realism / Fiction / General Reader
Suggested Retail (Paperback): $15.95
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Some Sort of Normal, is James Frey’s, Million Little Pieces, meets Vladimir Nabokov’s, Lolita. A rewrite of “Living in the Shadow”, a fictional memoir, into a novel.
In, Some Sort of Normal, Grove successfully fuses elements of literary realism and memoir styles into the difficult but socially relevant topics. Based on news items and difficult research it is bravely and well written. Society is a safer place because of this book.
Some Sort of Normal is a realistic, confessional novel that shuffles between rationalizations and redemption of the protagonist, Mark Beetleman. Not since Vladimir Nabokov wrote his earth-shattering Lolita in 1955 has anyone attempted the topic of pedophilia on this level. After reading, Some Sort of Normal, no one will walk away without wondering what lurks in the dark shadows of their own family closet. This book will force you to analyze your perspective on forgiveness, redemption and mercy. You will never trust your child to be alone with a male ever again.
What an accomplishment. In his new novel Some Sort of Normal, Richard M. Grove brilliantly weaves psychological, sexual, social, moral, cultural, spiritual and literary threads into a fine web. As name suggests, his main character, Mark Beetleman, preys on a small creature – his 12-year-old daughter Rachel. Beetleman is a selfish pedophile who is able to convince himself of man’s seeming natural instincts toward incest and the media’s role in promoting it. Grove skillfully spins dreams, therapy sessions, frank discussions with Mark’s friend Frank and emails from family to produce a profile of a predator who captures readers and leaves them to ponder the implications of Mark’s childhood and what led to a sticky mess. Will he remain an insect, a caught bug hanging in the centre of a self-made trap? Or will Grove’s deft use of dialogue lead us through Mark Beetleman’s life cycle, allowing him to develop through the slow stages of metamorphosis?
Author of 11 books
Including the prestigious “John B. Lee Signature Series”
Shortlisted for the Pat Lowther Memorial Award
and the Next Generation Indie Book Award
After reading Some Sort of Normal, most readers will put an imaginary exclamation point after the title. The author, Richard M. Grove, has obviously done a great deal of research on the subject of pedophilia, and though the phrase ‘thought-provoking’ is often overused, it’s definitely called for in this case. The protagonist, Mark Beetleman, is guilty of incest, yet he remains oddly detached from his crime. He even tries to rationalize it by declaring it was an act of mutual desire with his older daughter. It takes a brave author to tackle such a forbidden subject. Mark Beetleman enjoys weekly meetings over coffee with his best friend Frank, to whom he confesses his sin. Because Frank senses that Mark is worth some sort of salvation, he stands by him, even though he is appalled by such behaviour.
Mark Beetleman sees himself as a ‘colorless’ person and tries to escape that label by indulging in sexual conquests and one-night stands. He is unable to deal with real commitment, and has had three failed marriages as a consequence. Because Mark had never heard the word ‘love’ spoken between his parents, he is unable to use the word himself. In a pathetic attempt with one of his wives, he prints ‘I LOVE YOU’ on squares of toilet tissue rolled back out of sight, hoping she will see it later. If she does, she makes no comment.
Mark’s brother Harrison tries to keep in touch with him by e-mail, urging him to face up to his heinous behaviour and seek redemption by feeling and expressing remorse. Even though he sees a psychiatrist on a regular basis, Mark is slow in facing the truth.
The conclusion in Some Sort of Normal is dramatic and strangely satisfying. Using a dream, play on the word ‘metamorphosis’ with the protagonist’s surname, the author brings the story to a successful conclusion. Grove has handled a sensitive subject with great skill to create a novel well worth reading.
Grove has handled a sensitive subject with great skill to create a novel well worth reading. It takes a brave author to tackle such a forbidden subject. Though the phrase ‘thought-provoking’ is often overused, it’s definitely called for in this case of Some Sort of Normal.
Norma West Linder
Author of numerous books including novels,
‘Perk’s First Love’ and ‘Tall Stuff’
The novel, Some Sort of Normal, is based on his fictional memoir, Living in the Shadow.