Monday, August 22, 2011

Boiled Peanuts: A Peeping Tom Goes Nuts Over A Blind Girl

John Patrick Doyle
Copperhill Media (2011)
ISBN 9780983280064
Reviewed by Paige Lovitt for Reader Views

Paul Kirk doesn't have much of a life.  As a youth, he lost his mother to MS and his father, was and still is an alcoholic.  The few times in his life where he did try to participate in normal social interactions, he usually felt like a fool and had to blunder his way through. It didn't help that his peers were not very kind to him.
Never feeling comfortable with socially interacting with others, even from a young age, Paul found it easier to be a Peeping Tom.  He wasn't your typical perverted peeper. He just found it easier to watch other people engaging in their lives while just imaging that he had a role in their families. 

As an adult, Paul is a librarian. This allows him to continue to live quietly, yet still be involved with knowing the town people.  He is able to track them through his resources as a librarian.  While they might not know who he is, he knows who they are.  When Paul accidentally is identified as doing a heroic deed, he is forced into becoming more sociable.  He does his best to participate in these interactions. Then one day, while at church, he meets the beautiful Bronwyn, who recently inherited a home from her deceased Aunt Phyllis.  Paul falls for Bronwyn.

Bronwyn finds Paul endearing, but he doesn't realize this at first, so he goes back to his Peeping Tom ways and imagines himself a part of her life.  When Paul stumbles into a situation where he has to warn a local woman that she is being conned, he ticks off the conman.  Not knowing where to find Paul, he goes after Bronwyn.  This forces Paul to step out from behind his wall and become more involved. When Bronwyn lets Paul in on some family secrets regarding her Aunt Phyllis, he is excited to be involved in helping to solve her mystery. 

I absolutely loved reading "Boiled Peanuts!" I found myself relating to Paul's angst so many times in the story. While my own situations were never as extreme, I did feel a connection with him.  The story is also full of quirky, eccentric characters who add so much humor to the drama.  I also enjoyed the complexity of the mystery behind Aunt Phyllis. "Boiled Peanuts" is definitely not a typical fiction book, and when you find out how the name ties into the story, you will laugh out loud like I did!