Utterly intriguing and wholly frustrating by halves, my reaction to this book was also mixed, although I will give great kudos to Allan Stratton for the clever arguments against hypocrisy that he managed to pull off to great effect.
Unfortunately, the title character, Mary Mabel McTavish was not a character that I could even like: only the fact that throwing electronics under a passing bus is harmful to the electronics kept me from bouncing my eReader all over the place when her peculiar brainless complacency got to be too frustrating. But, she was the one hiccup in an otherwise clever and engaging book, rife with humor, pointed satire and cleverly plotted schemes all unmasked to their agendas by the writing and twists used to move the story forward.
The early chapters of the story are slow and serve to set the background for the fast-paced character laden moments that come later. Mixing slapstick humor without turning it into a panto, adding a tinge of darkness and irony, and keeping a vulgar sense of honesty that imbues a sense of anger to the revelations of various behaviors rooted in hypocrisy that are unearthed, Stratton takes on media, religion, society and government: the perfect setting for an overreach into conspiracy theory. Yet, what emerges is a smartly crafted, with the exception of the title character, the unwitting and often oblivious pawn to the machinations of those who seek control, power and influence.
As a fan of history, the story is set in the 1930’s – heyday of Hollywood and with the popularization of the radio, an era where media and news became available quickly to a large audience. Add in the struggles of the Great Depression, and people were desperate for quick cures, diversion and a possible chance to get away from their own issues. Not unlike the culture of fear created since the advent of 9-11, media and governmental manipulations of the population need a figurehead that is willing or complicit, to aid in spreading the message and achieving the goals of those behind the scenes. Getting to see the agenda behind the stories and manipulations was revealing and gives readers the opportunity to apply answers received in this book to events in current day.
Title: The Resurrection of Mary Mabel McTavish
Author: Allan Stratton
Genre: Literary Fiction, Literary Fiction /Historical Setting
Published by: Dundurn Press
Source: Publisher Via Edelweiss
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It's the Great Depression and Mary Mabel McTavish is suicidal. A drudge at the Bentwhistle Academy for Young Ladies (aka Wealthy Juvenile Delinquents), she is at London General Hospital when little Timmy Beeford is carried into emergency and pronounced dead. He was electrocuted at an evangelical road show when the metal cross on top of the revival tent was struck by lightning. Believing she’s guided by her late mother, Mary Mabel lays on hands. Timmy promptly resurrects.
William Randolph Hearst gets wind of the story and soon the Miracle Maid is rocketing from the Canadian backwoods to '30s Hollywood. Jack Warner, J. Edgar Hoover, and the Rockettes round out a cast of Ponzi promoters, Bolshevik hoboes, and double-dealing social climbers in a fast-paced tale that satirizes the religious right, media manipulation, celebrity, and greed.
A copy of this title was provided via Publisher Via Edelweiss for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.