Precious Cargo by Craig Davidson

Nothing beats a good feel-good novel.

4/5 stars.
ebook, 210 pages.
Read from February 11, 2018 to February 19, 2018.

You know what? Nothing beats a good feel-good novel. Especially one that knows how to make you laugh, smile and cry at the time.

Craig Davidson had hit rock bottom with his writing career. His efforts and a once promising start had fizzled away into nothing. With the bills racking up Craig was looking for anything to help him get by which, is hard to do when you have jumped around with small jobs here and there while pursuing writing, that is until he stumbled upon a school bus driving position. No experience required. Perfect. Little did Craig know that this job was going to offer him so much more than just a paycheque. Craig’s first gig is driving a short bus for special needs children, a position that many drivers often turned away. Dealing with kids can be trying at the best of times but having to work with kids who have needs that are harder to understand or deal with is often a whole other story and requires a special and attentive sort of care. Craig wasn’t sure what he was getting himself into but he was willing to try. With his unique brand of humour, Craig quickly charms the kids on his bus, learns their routines and personalities, and quickly falls in love with the job and his unique bunch of rowdy kids. It would be a year that would shape his life and perspectives going forward.

giphy (2)Craig has the gift of humour and has finessed his writing style well. The book is entertaining, highly readable and massively relatable for anyone who has pursued writing or who just has your average-Joe type persona, which is most of us! Craig is intimate making you feel like you really get to know him and each of the kids on his bus. The book also offers valuable insights into the difficult lives that many people with special needs and their families have to deal with and the courage that it comes with. Craig learned that his own failures were nothing compared to what these kids had overcome and with how able they were at dealing with difficulties that he could never have even dreamed of.

While I enjoyed the true story portion of this book I did not enjoy the random chapters of Craig’s unpublished YA dystopian novel in which the characters were inspired by the kids on his bus.  It’s a nice sentiment but I found it very jarring and when it first came up I had no idea what I was reading or how it pertained to Craig’s main story at first.  If I were an editor I would have eliminated those portions completely and then maybe made a reference to it at the end.

Now does this book “open your eyes“? To an extent, yes. It is an important reflection on how disabled people are treated in our current society and just how challenging it can be. Do I think that this theme was the main attraction of this book? No. Did I love reading it? Oh yes. This is a great read and I have already recommended it to a few of my friends. Does it deserve to win Canada Reads? My current opinion is no but we will see what the other contenders bring to the table. Onward!

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams

Don’t panic.

4/5 stars.
Paperback, 193 pages.
Read from June 29, 2017 to June 30, 2017.

October 12, 1979 – that is when this book was first published. Meaning it is almost 40 years old. I had no idea. I can see now why this book is such a timeless classic regardless of its genre.

Author Dent is your normal, everyday bloke. One day his friend, Ford Prefect, demands that he leave his home (at the most inopportune time) to have a pint with him. Ford’s urgency is created by the fact that he is actually an alien that has been trapped on Earth for the last 15 years and has been waiting for a coming UFO to hitchhike on. That, and Earth is about to be destroyed. As Ford considers Author a friend he saves him by bringing him along. Arthur soon finds himself from the pub to travelling in space, learning that his friend is an alien and that Earth has been destroyed in a matter of minutes.

Ford has been travelling to different planets trying to work on and update the popular compendium, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy before he became trapped on Earth for 15 years. His return back into space was nearly statistically impossible and on a ship that is not welcoming to hitchhikers. Good thing Ford knows a thing or two about getting around from all the work he has been doing. However, he ends up putting both him and Arthur in a sticky situation.

Even those that don’t like science-fiction would enjoy this book. It is so insanely imaginative, especially when you think about when it was published. It was long before the smartphones or before computers were a household item and even before the creation of the internet. It is easy to see how this book inspired so many other stories and movies after it.  It made the science-fiction genre accessible and readable to everyone. It’s hilarious too! Think Guardians of the Galaxy meets Shaun of the Dead type of humour.

“You know,” said Arthur, “it’s at times like this, when I’m trapped in a Vogon airlock with a man from Betelgeuse, and about to die of asphyxiation in deep space that I really wish I’d listened to what my mother told me when I was young.”

“Why, what did she tell you?”

“I don’t know, I didn’t listen.”

The writing style is light and easy and the story is a nice humorous take on the speculations of our universe. While I do not feel inclined to read the rest of the books in the series (admittedly I am not usually one for series) the book was an enjoyable escape and I appreciated the witty antics of the characters.

This book is classic that is definitely worth adding to your bucket list if you have not already read and loved it. Even if you don’t enjoy science-fiction, this book is still a worthwhile read.