Sunday, November 08, 2020

Bob: The Right Hand of God - Pat Bertram

When I read the back cover of Pat Bertram’s Bob: The Right Hand of God, I figured it was going to be a lot of fun, a light-hearted story that would get my mind off all the negative things that have been happening in 2020. And, thankfully enough, it turns out that I was right. I was able to lose myself for several hours in Bertram’s tale about what might happen if God decided that Earth and all of His Earthly creations were only a pretty good first-effort badly in need of a do-over. 


Chet is a rather sensitive young man who runs a Denver pet store very fittingly called “Used Pets.” All of the animals that Bob works to place with just the right new owner have been abused or abandoned by previous owners. Some are elderly, some have crippling injuries, and others have outgrown even their usefulness as zoo animals. Used Pets defines Chet and the way he sees the world. His biggest problem, however, is driving him nuts. Chet has an overbearing mother who insists on micro-managing his life, and nothing he does to discourage her efforts does the least bit of good.


Finally, things do start to change for Chet, but only after a little guy called Bob makes an April Fool’s Day appearance on television to announce that God has decided to recreate Earth in the form of a theme park for visitors from around the Galaxy. Soon, despite having laughed off Bob as just another April Fool’s prank, Chet has to admit that everything around him is steadily being “deleted,” including his mother and millions of other people. Chet sees it happening, but he refuses to play Bob’s game. He refuses to enter any of the gates set up to gather those who have not been deleted. Chet is simply not a walk-toward-the-light kind of guy; he never has been and he never will be. But maybe that’s why Bob has taken such a shine to Chet and seems to be cutting him a little slack.


Now, as the world around him slowly disappears, only to be replaced with one oddity after another, Chet has some big decisions to make. Does he even have a chance of surviving on his own or will he eventually have to give up and enter one of the camps set-up for people like him? According to Bob, the camps are mini-paradises, but can Bob really be trusted? What is life really like inside one of the compounds? Well, there’s only one way to find out. So what’s a guy like Chet to do?


Bottom Line: Bob: The Right Hand of God is funny and it’s clever, but deep down, it has a message about the important things in life. Pat Bertram has written several books on grief and grieving and she brings that kind of emotional sensitivity even to a farcical tale like this one. If you are looking for something fun to read, this is one you should consider. 


Pat Bertram


Review Copy provided by Publisher

7 comments:

  1. I love the sound of this but, as an animal advocate, I need to ask whether there is specific abuse scenarios in this one?

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    1. No, that's not at all a problem, Diane. It is only even mentioned in order to give some depth to the Chet character, I think.

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  2. The bits about people being deleted from the world and Chet refusing to do what's expected of him reminds me a lot of the TV show Supernatural right now. Very similar themes. :)

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    1. I'm not a big TV fan, so I don't know the series, Lark. I'll have to take a look, though, because the whole premise does amuse me.

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  3. OK--I was hooked at "used pets." In the paper, there are always little stories about pets up for adoption for so many reasons. The ones that make me sad are the older pets.

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    1. The story stresses the plight of older pets, the ones that put in a life of service with the only people they've ever known, only to see themselves abandoned when they require a little more care than their "owners" want to provide for them. That Chet, the central character, wants to help these abandoned animals is at the core of who he is.

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