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Review: Rocket Man

November 5, 2008

Rocket Man by William Elliott Hazelgrove is an independence story.  Dale and Wendy Hammer decide to live the American Dream and move from the city to the suburbs.  They move into a neighborhood of million dollar homes that is beyond their means.  They find themselves lonely and alone.  It seems that everyone and everything in the suburbs is the same, and they have trouble conforming.  Things start to fall apart for Dale.  He has three published novels, but can’t seem to write anymore.  He’s a mortgage broker who can’t close a loan.  His father has lost his job and been kicked out by his wife, so he’s come to live with Dale.  The police are after Dale for sawing down the subdivision’s sign.  Dale can’t even drive his son to school without speeding or getting into an altercation with someone at the school.  The relationship between father and son has become strained, so Dale has volunteered to be the “Rocket Man” for Dale Jr’s Scout troop and he struggles with meeting the deadlines for that.   Dale and Wendy find out that Dale, Jr is having major problems at school and Wendy files for divorce. Dale hopes that Rocket Day will salvage his relationship with his son and give him a sense of independence.

This book is about being true to yourself and not conforming with what society expects of you.  It’s a great story about finding yourself.  I found myself wondering if families really do interact the way the Hammers do, because ours certainly doesn’t.  I thought the ending was perfect.  My only complaint with the book is that I thought there was a lot more foul language than was necessary for the type of story that was told.

This is William Elliott Hazelgrove’s fourth novel.  It will be released by Pantonne Press on December 1.  He teaches at Columbia College and is the Hemingway writer in residence for the Ernest Hemingway Foundation of Oak Park.  In other words, he does his writing in Ernest Hemingway’s attic!  You can visit his website by clicking here.

18 Comments leave one →
  1. November 5, 2008 8:27 am

    In Ernest Hemingway’s attic, really? That is too neat. This book sounds fantastic – great review!

  2. November 5, 2008 8:43 am

    Interesting. I think I’ll pass, though.

  3. November 5, 2008 8:45 am

    Sounds really interesting. Thanks for the review.

  4. November 5, 2008 9:08 am

    This one sounds really good, it’s fascinating that where you live can have such an impact on your independant personality. Great review!
    We live in one of those suburbs where all the houses are the same shade of blah and some neighbors get quite uppity if you plant the wrong type of perennials *rolls eyes* I don’t fit into the tupperware party mom role but over time I came to enjoy getting shocked looks as I walk around in my PJ’s watering my wildflowers 🙂

  5. November 5, 2008 9:10 am

    Sounds like an interesting story. Seems I’m always running around trying to keep up with society expectations (and wondering why).

  6. November 5, 2008 10:09 am

    Sounds like an interesting book. Seems that the character of Dale can’t catch a break. I’d never heard of this author before reading this review.

  7. November 5, 2008 10:44 am

    Sounds a little like Revolutionary Road. I think that is the title. Great review..interesting tidbit about Hemingway too.

  8. November 5, 2008 10:50 am

    This one is going on my wishlist for certain. Great review of a book I might otherwise have missed!

  9. November 5, 2008 10:53 am

    I was thinking the same as Ti. I just read/reviewed *Revolutionary Road*. This might be a good book to read to get a more contemporary perspective on the ideas of “being true to yourself” vs. “‘keeping up with the Joneses”

    Thanks for letting us know about this. … Interesting connection to Hemingway.

  10. Bobbie Crawford-McCoy permalink
    November 5, 2008 2:37 pm

    Super review!
    Sure sounds like an interesting book.


    Book Reviews By Bobbie

  11. November 5, 2008 3:27 pm

    Did it feel real even though you weren’t sure if families really act that way? Or did you have to suspend some belief?

  12. November 5, 2008 3:30 pm

    Michele – it did feel real. They just weren’t very nice to each other a lot of the time and they yelled and cussed a lot. Maybe I lead a sheltered life.

  13. November 5, 2008 4:12 pm

    Hmmm…sounds a bit more like my family. Yes, you may be sheltered. 😉

    It was in the TBR pile, but I think I will start it this evening.

  14. November 5, 2008 4:23 pm

    Excellent review! It is always interesting how other families function differently than ours, and to them it is completely normal.

    This sounds like a very interesting read, thanks again for the review 🙂

    ps and thanks for the comments you have posted of encouragement for the NaNoWriMo!! I love the support !

  15. November 5, 2008 6:34 pm

    Wow, something a little different — a father/son story. I’ve been reading some mother/daughter books lately, but maybe this is something different to check out. I wonder, is it much different for guys?

  16. November 5, 2008 7:16 pm

    Great review! This sounds like a good book.

  17. November 5, 2008 8:15 pm

    When I read that third sentence about million-dollar homes, my immediate thought was, “Not for me,” but I kept reading and it sounds really terrific. Great review. I’ll add this one to the wish list.

  18. November 6, 2008 5:27 pm

    This sounds like a great book. I love books about the main characters ‘finding themselves.’

    Hey, J. Kaye changed her avatar. Where’s Maxine!?!?

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