“Mind the Gap” by George Tombs

George Tombs
Evidentia Originals (2019)
ISBN: 9781999384005
Reviewed by Sheri Hoyte for Reader Views (1/2020)

“Mind the Gap” by George Tombs is one of the most unique stories I’ve read in some time. With quirky characters, a colorful storyline and an overall feeling you’ve just stepped into another world, it’s a lively, humorous dance revealing the very definition of family dysfunction.

It’s a coming of age story about Richard Grey who is basically at odds against the world. Or at least his world. Separated from his mother at an early age, (she was institutionalized by his father), Richard is basically raised by his Grandmother Grieve. Richard’s father is an almost unknown entity lurking behind the daily newspaper, detached from most of the family’s daily life. Richard struggles with people, cats, dating, institutions – everyone and everything he comes into contact with.  It’s a fun read full of family dynamics, love, betrayal, survival and the struggle to find yourself amidst it all.  You can’t help rooting for Richard, an underdog just looking for his place in the world.

This is such a fun read! The writing is brilliant, the author creating a world with vivid imagery through his words. It’s witty and engaging with a plot that arouses a natural curiosity – it’s hard to put down once you get started! I knew I’d enjoy the story from the back cover alone: “Some people call me by the nickname ‘Dick’, especially when things are going badly, but I just hate that nickname. So, if you don’t know what to call me, don’t call me at all.”  I just had to shake my head and laugh at this because my son is named Richard and there was a stage during high school when his friends thought the nickname was hysterical.

One of my favorite features of the book in general are the character names. The family members are all referred to by their family position as well as their name, for instance, Father Reginald, Mother Augusta, Grandmother Grieve and Sister Florence, etc. Other characters have names like Manfred Bludgeon, Scruffy Schmuckmeyer, Colonel Ramshackle, etc. I’m not sure why this struck me as odd, but I had an inside chuckle at each reference.  It just fits with the overall eccentricity of the story. I love character driven stories and these characters are about as far from average as you can get. Sometimes you just want to shake them and ask them what they are thinking, other times you just have to give them up to the plot, come what may. There’s never a dull moment, to be sure.

“Mind the Gap” may unintentionally conjure up some of your own embarrassing familial moments but the journey with Richard Grey just might make you appreciate your own family even more. For a light, entertaining, melodramatic reading experience full of fun and adventure, I highly recommend “Mind the Gap” by George Tombs.

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