Friday, July 15, 2016

Edward Unspooled, by Craig Lancaster

Readers have embraced the quirky Edward Stanton in Craig Lancaster's 600 Hours of Edward and Edward Adrift.  Much to their delight, Lancaster has continued Edward's story in Edward Unspooled.  While Edward Unspooled stands alone as a novel, if you haven't read the first two, you really should.  Edward is an adult living with Asperger's syndrome and OCD, both of which play a large part in his personality and in the stories.  Through these three books, Edward's personality and habits develop.  As his relationships change and as events happen, the manifestations of these disabilities soften and change.  Lancaster shows Edward as a hopeful figure, one for whom circumstances and predispositions do not permanently limit him.

Edward Unspooled is written as sort of journal Edward keeps for his gestating child.  He wants this baby to come into the world prepared, and to know something of his parents' lives.  Alternatively, Edward's wife Sheila responds to his entries, usually (amusingly) to correct or clarify Edward's recollections.  Lancaster's story-telling technique here works great.

Edward is very self-aware.  He writes, "I'll say right now that I hope your list of irritants is not nearly as long as mine.  Life will go better for you the less you're bothered by people and their dumb habits."  He no longer writes letters of complaint every night like he used to, but sometimes has letters he could write.

On happiness: "I wonder if I worry too much about whether I'm happy or sad anyway.  It seems like both of those things show and and leave on their own schedule.  Maybe I should just worry about whether I'm doing the appropriate thing or making the appropriate choice."  That's not bad advice.

During a rough spot he's having with Sheila, he writes: "What I wanted was some sort of reset button for married living, so your mother and I could go back to a time when we weren't treating each other poorly and saying mean words.  But how do you do that?"  I'd say many of us wish for the same button!

Edward Unspooled is full of familial challenges for Edward, from his controlling mother, his pregnant wife, and his newly discovered brother.  Through it all, he may not always make the right choices, but we can appreciate the aplomb with which he handles what life throws at him, and we can be entertained by his attitude and personality.  I don't know whether Lancaster has plans for another Edward story, but I'm certain his fans will be looking for one!

Thanks to Mr. Lancaster for the complimentary electronic review copy!

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