Saturday, April 21, 2012

The Reconstructionist

As one who sometimes has to write about traffic accidents, I was drawn to the idea of a book based on a character who recreates accidents. But this novel isn't about someone who likes the math and science involved in this skill. It's not just about the car crashes Ellis Barstow studies. I don't even think anything that happens to the fictional Ellis Barstow is an accident.

He sees his half-brother he didn't really like horrifically killed (accident that ends in fire). Life is never the same for Ellis.

Later in life, he winds up seeing his brother's girlfriend, Heather, who is married to John Boggs, Accident Reconstructionist. He joins Boggs's profession. He may not be passionate about the work itself, but he is passionate about Heather. He waited a while before letting her know his feelings. Once he did, his life takes a different turn.

He ruins his friendship with Boggs.

He questions his relationship with Heather.

He questions what he knows about the accident that started it all.

This book becomes more of a tragic love story - mourning the half-brother he didn't like and the friend he admired (while ruining his friend's marriage). Ellis's career was so heavily centered on risk and every little detail that is part of an accident, that it should not be a surprise that he takes great risks to find the answers. He may not love the answers or even like just a little the steps he has to take to find closure. But he does it.

I'm not sure if Ellis liked himself along this journey, but I did. I don't believe in accidents. I think everything happens for a reason. It may have taken a little more than 300 pages to know the answer to "why" in Ellis's story. Now that I know, I'm satisfied. If Ellis were a real person, I think he would be, too.
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