Waiting for Joe
A NovelBook - 2010
After you've lost it all — job, house, savings, future —what have you got left? A piercing new novel of our times by one of Canada's finest fiction writers.
On a chilly early morning in late spring, Joe Beaudry and his wife, Laurie, wake up in circumstances that would challenge saints: they are on the lam in a stolen motorhome on the edge of a Walmart parking lot in Regina, Saskatchewan. They've gone bust, spectacularly: lost the house that was Joe's gift from his dad, lost the business Joe started when he got married, and stuck his ancient father in a nursing home in Winnipeg so they could flee their creditors. Joe knows the reality of the situation, and is trying to raise enough cash to get them both to Fort McMurray where he hopes he can find work. But Laurie, even though she watched Joe trash their high-end appliances with a sledgehammer when the yard sale didn't deliver enough cash, somehow thinks it's only temporary, and maxes out their last credit card on wardrobe and hair dye and wishes and dreams. For Joe, it's the last straw in a marriage that once seemed star-crossed and now seems simply unworkable.
Pushed to figure out what to do next, Joe simply takes off hitchhiking, leaving Laurie waiting for Joe, and Joe wondering how he will ever find meaning in a world that has disappointed his every expectation. The road for both of them provides surprising answers...
From the critics
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This poignant tale is about loss and redemption. Joe and Laurie Beaudry have lost their home, family business, car and their marriage is on a slippery slope. The story takes place in Western Canada, primarily in Winnipeg and Regina. After the bankruptcy of Joe’s RV business he “borrows” an RV to drive to Fort McMurray to look for work. Joe’s father, Alfred has to be temporarily placed in a nursing home in Winnipeg while the couple tries to find work and get their life back in order. They stop in Regina and Joe is trying to get a temporary job to help pay for the gas to get them to Fort McMurray.
Laurie thinks that their predicament is temporary and blows the last of their credit on purchases of clothing and hair dye. Laurie has problems with overspending and uses the high of purchasing items to make her feel happy. Joe’s attempt to get temporary work in Regina go astray and after a fight with Laurie he takes off hitchhiking toward Fort McMurray. He ends up taking a side trip to visit a childhood friend ,Pastor Ken who lives in Vancouver. Laurie is left in Regina with the R.V and she has to decide what path to take with her life without Joe.
Birdsell possesses a fine craft in weaving a story that portrays the resilience of both characters and how this bumpy patch in their lives makes them both stronger.
What I liked about this book was the depiction of the present and past lives of both Joe and Laurie and how their present predicaments can be understood with choices and characters flaws that both possess.
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