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Friday, April 25, 2014

Terms & Conditions: A Novel

I love an irreverent piece of work, and Terms & Conditions by Robert Glancy fills those shoes. 

Frank can't remember anything. He has been in a car accident and apparently was "agitated" even before then. He remembers that he is a lawyer who focuses on terms and conditions, but other than that he is a tabula rasa. As he heads back to work his memories start slowly coming back--he remembers that he hates his wife (she wrote a book that makes him irrationally angry--why is this?), he hates his older brother (he is a jackass, but is he more than that?), and his youngest brother is off running around the world for fun. Maybe it wasn't an "agitation" at all--maybe he had had enough and wanted to just start over.

I was so thrilled with this book. I fell so in love with it that I couldn't put it down. I adored Frank almost as if he was a very real person. I felt for him, and I wanted him to come to terms (and conditions?) with the life he really no longer needed to live. I hated his wife with him. I hated his brother with him. I wanted to fight to keep the family company on the strait and narrow with him. He deserved all of this, and I wanted to work with him to get it. The injustices he faced as a man who was so easy to walk over were sad and heartbreaking, and to be able to watch Frank come to terms with this as almost a completely different person was really amazing and moving.

What I found the most delightful about reading this book was exactly this--watching Frank take ownership over his life and to be able to critically examine who he was prior to the accident and to make a decision regarding whether or not he wanted to be that person anymore. How many of us get that opportunity? It's such a gift, to be able to take those terms and conditions you have been given and rewrite them to make your own life exactly what you want. Of course this book was uproariously written and I enjoyed it immensely, laughing out loud on trains and wanting to get back to it any time I had to put it down. More than that, though, it was an exploration of a gift Frank has been given, which is to find how you can game the very system you put in place. Make your own terms and conditions.

Hard copy only below.

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