A new book review of AMPLE MAKE THIS BED. March 3, 2020

by admin on March 3, 2020

A novel for grownups A novel for grownups

AMPLE MAKE THIS BED – BOOK REVIEW by Barbara S., Victoria, BC.

This is a story for people who like reading about relationships, and enjoy novels that follow the classic narrative line from introduction to conflict to climax and resolution. It’s a fitting ‘Aristotelian’ shape for this tale, because Ample Make This Bed (the title coming from an Emily Dickinson poem) is about the loves and lives of a group of theatre folk.

Terry Oliver’s characters are in what he calls the ‘third age’ of life, meaning the period that comes after youth and middle age have already been passed through – and been survived. What’s noticeable is that in stage three, people want the same things as they did in stages one and two: love, friendship, purpose, and outlets for creativity. It’s a book then to appeal to the active creative ‘third age baby boomer’ reader.

The protagonists, Ama and Spike and their friends, are deeply involved in the acting life. Their current project is the renovation of a decrepit theatre building, and the author offers much detail about that which will interest anyone who’s ever been involved in such a mission. Theatre-loving readers (like the present reviewer) will enjoy hearing the characters’ ideas about drama and its presentation, as well as the author’s knowledgeable asides about particular plays, playwrights and productions.

Although these protagonists are theatrical ‘players’, life itself is far from all play for them. They find time to fall in love, but their lives also include suicidal runaway offspring, disabling injuries, terminal illnesses, and doctor-assisted dying: just the sort of challenges you’d expect would appear in the ‘third age’ of life.

The story’s not gloomy however, merely recognizable. Many baby boomer readers will encounter some of their own back-stories here. Oliver’s characters are buoyant, which helps them get through the bad stuff. As far as their own biographies are concerned, you know the show will go on. Like the author, they’d agree with C.J Jung that “the afternoon of life must also have a significance of its own, and cannot be merely a pitiful appendage to life’s morning.”

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