I'm reading Return Policy by Michael Snyder, the story of three people (Willy, Ozena and Shaq) whose part-tragic, part-comic lives intersect, beginning with an espresso coffee maker that Willy unsuccessfully tries to destroy. It's Snyder's second novel; I haven't read his first, My Name is Russell Fink, which has a lot of rave reviews on Amazon.
How I came across Return Policy is a good example of how online connections work (and can help sell books). I began to follow a group blog called "The Master's Artist," written by several writers who are, according to their purpose statement, "united by the blood of Christ and a love for language. We come from different backgrounds, have different theological outlooks, and are interested in a wide variety of genres and artforms." I read Snyder's posts, and then the note about his new novel being published. I thought if it were like his posts, it was going to funny, entertaining -- and with something important to say behind the comedy.
Snyder is the comic in the group, but as with all comics, there's a seriousness just below the surface. His most recent post on the blog, "Conversating," is a short conversation about a possible broken jaw that's funny in and of itself but then becomes a satire when Snyder adds a list of "Reader's Group Questions," a send-up of the practice that's become common in Christian fiction. (These are guides for book discussion groups.) Other of the blog's writers and readers have been adding additional discussion questions in the comments, and the post with comments has gotten out-of-control funny.
Return Policy, by the way, does not include a group discussion guide. But I'd love to read the one Snyder would create for it.
Back to the novel.