Back Bay, 2003 (2002)
Read an Excerpt
Reviewed by Hilary Williamson
he Weather Wizard's job defines his life, and leaves his wife and son out in the cold. Will Baggett is comfortably entrenched in his role as '
Raleigh's most popular TV weatherman
.' He is hailed everywhere with '
Yo, Will! What's the weather?
', and revels in his celebrity status. Medical student son Palmer is firmly oriented towards Will's rich in-laws, and wife Clarice has turned to a high-powered real estate job for solace. Will comes across as a nice chap, a bit too pleased with himself, coasting through mid-life inertia.
hen everything changes. Robert Inman plots a series of events that explode Will out of his comfortable rut, and take him from the heights of fame to the depths of obscurity as a jobless, homeless, criminal with a divorce pending. The triggers to each downwards stumble are all plausible, though at times Will's relatives, and his friends in particular, seem extraordinarily callous. In the midst of it all, Will tells his cousin Wingfoot '
I feel like I've been on a long trip to a foreign country
e heads back to his roots in Baggett House, where the reader revisits Wilbur's childhood memories of a '
house full of obsessed people
', and the tragedy of the deaths of his and Wingfoot's parents. This is a place where Will felt continually '
', largely due to his father's reputation. He begins to deal with unfinished childhood business, with aid from Wingfoot, whom Will helps in return. All this gives the reader an understanding of why Wilbur grew into such a needy adult.
hen the Weather Wizard finally hits rock bottom, he has a revelation ... '
On the surface, everything is gone; but if everything is gone, anything is possible
.' He finally grows up, transforms himself, and learns to be a father. In
, Robert Inman delivers a smooth and sophisticated read that is tremendously satisfying, while it makes a reader wonder about all the paths not taken in life.
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