Wednesday, February 13, 2008

My Name is Russell Fink

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

My Name is Russell Fink

Zondervan (March 1, 2008)


Michael Snyder


Russell Fink is twenty-six years old and determined to salvage a job he hates so he can finally move out of his parents house for good. He's convinced he gave his twin sister cancer when they were nine years old. And his crazy fiancée refuses to accept the fact that their engagement really is over.

Then Sonny, his allegedly clairvoyant basset hound, is found murdered.

The ensuing amateur investigation forces Russell to confront several things at once-the enormity of his family's dysfunction, the guy stalking his family, and his long-buried feelings for a most peculiar love interest.

At its heart, My Name is Russell Fink is a comedy, with sharp dialogue, characters steeped in authenticity, romance, suspense, and fresh humor. With a postmodern style similar to Nick Hornby and Douglas Coupland, the author explores reconciliation, forgiveness, and faith in the midst of tragedy. No amount of neurosis or dysfunction can derail God's redemptive purposes.


I have a love/hate relationship with this book. I love the “voice” of Russell Fink. More specifically, I think the author, Michael Snyder has a gift with images – presenting them in a quirky, fresh way that makes them appear vivid and focused in your mind. From his description of the doctor’s office on page eighteen to the last page of the book I marked no less than 40 passages containing these visual images and copied them in their entirety in the back of my book. His words are succinct, poignant and alive! You want to caress them in your mind.

As much as I loved the visual images, by page 60 I’ve scribbled labels for the main character in the margin containing the words; hypochondriac, consummate wimp, pathetic…I just want to shake the guy and scream, “Be a MAN already!!” His character is that real and often that frustrating. But Michael Snyder is only getting started. He manages to weave the search for relationship with God, a severely dysfunctional family, romance gone wrong, murder, mystery and general mayhem all within the confines of his 340 page novel. There were moments I wondered exactly how he was going to pull this off, but he did. And he did it in the weirdest, nerdiest, laugh-out-loud funny, weep-out-loud painful kind of way!

Russell Fink has issues and a lot of them. His life is so messed up in so many ways you want to give up on him. However, through his struggles and mishaps and the people the Lord places in his life, he learns that even though he is at the bottom of the trash heap, God knows where he’s at and loves him anyway. The scenes of realization and searching are raw and can be summed up in this wonderful sentence when Russell cries out to God; “I don’t want your comfort, I want answers. And if I can’t get the right answers, I want to fight.” Can’t we all relate to that feeling when life’s struggles seem to overwhelm us and we run to God begging for an explanation? Russell Fink is not a simple character.

Now, the ending of the book…well…I don’t know. It doesn’t exactly beg for a sequel, but it sure makes you want to call Michael Snyder up and demand a few answers of your own. This is one very different kind of read. I loved it!!


Pamela J said...

WHAT A FUN REVIEW! Thanks for bringing this book to my attention, I will surely be watching for it wherever I go.

Scrambled Dregs said...

Great review, Kimbo. I concur!

~michelle pendergrass said...

I had the same feeling about Russell--we talk a little about that in the interview I'm putting up later today.

Great review!

michael snyder said...

Kim...again let me say a hearty and sincere Thank You!!!

This was a ton of fun and your nice comments still make me grin into space. Seriously, can't thank you enough.


Tami said...

I liked it too! His characters are definately quirky!
Tami from Tree Swing Reading