Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Dinner With Lisa Blog Tour Pt. 1- Review

Welcome to the blog tour for Dinner With Lisa by R. L. Prendergast!
I have 2 posts for this tour, one today with a review and one tomorrow with a guest post and giveaway. First some information about the book and author!

In the disastrous economic times of the 1930s, Joseph Gaston, a young widower with four children, arrives in the small town of Philibuster seeking security for his family. Instead, he faces barriers everywhere. He does his best despite great adversity, but the strain of feeding and protecting his family whittles away his strength. Finally, destitution forces him to consider giving up his children in order to save them. Enraged by his situation, he attempts one last desperate act—on the night he learns about the mysterious Lisa.

Heart wrenching, humorous and historically authentic, Dinner with Lisa incorporates the crucial issues of the depression: poverty, unemployment, drought and racism. In the midst of love and loyalty, trickery and despair, the ultimate message of the novel is one of hope and the courage to survive even the worst odds.

R. L. (Rod) Prendergast was the entrepreneurial kid you saw on your neighbourhood street selling lemonade on a hot summer’s day. Recognizing young Rod’s preoccupation with money, his mother bribed him to read with an offer of 25 cents per book—and instilled in him a lifelong love of reading. Although he continued down the path of industry—he started and sold his first business before completing his Bachelor of Commerce—he continued to read voraciously. After a number of years working in sales, marketing and management for several companies he spent a year’s sabbatical surfing and reading in New Zealand and, free of business pressures, he began to write. Those first words became the backbone ofThe Impact of a Single Event—which was long listed for the Independent Publishers Book Award for literary fiction, and which became a national bestseller in Canada. Spurred on by the success of his first novel, he took another sabbatical and wrote Dinner with Lisa. He is currently working on his next book.


In the 1930's nearly everyone is suffering. Poverty and hunger abound, and people are desperate for work. Joseph Gaston is no exception. A widower with four children, Joseph is persuaded by his half-brother to move across Canada to the town of Philibuster. Joseph's brother assures him there will be work and assistance with child-care there. Only part of that turns out to be true though, and Joseph continues to be destitute. He works to keep a good attitude through it all, but as time goes by he begins to consider drastic measures. In the end, Joseph will find hope and encouragement despite everything.

This book was hard to read on many levels. My heart was breaking for Joseph and many of the other people he came across. They all wanted to work so bad, but there were just no jobs to be found. It's hard to watch these people struggle and starve. Joseph managed to keep an amazing attitude through everything all things considered, and he never lost sight of his true focus- keeping his family together and alive. In Joseph, you really saw someone who was doing everything he possibly could and doing the very best he could. That is inspiring in itself. Other characters were interesting as well. The Great Henri, Joseph's half-brother, was someone I never quite got a read on until the end of the book. I couldn't decide whether he was awesome or just a fool. Tilda was another character I never quite decided how I felt about. I didn't necessarily like what she was doing, but I completely understood why she was doing it.

This isn't one of those action-packed books with twists and turns. It flows along quietly, much like Joseph in personality. I was extremely interested by the historical aspects of the novel. Knowing that people really struggled like this helped to make this book more real to me. I particularly enjoyed Joseph's ability to see past race and ethnicity and treat people equally. The storyline with his Chinese neighbor really opened my eyes to the extreme racism the Chinese faced then. The end was tied together in a way that surprised me, and like Joseph I had a great deal of hope. I think a lot of people will be able to relate to and learn from the circumstances surrounding the characters in this book. I thought this was a really great book, and if you like a novel that has struggle and hope check this book out.

Book provided for review. 

Be sure to come back tomorrow for the author's guest post and a giveaway!

1 comment:

Teddy Rose said...

Thanks again for taking part in the tour, I'm so glad you enjoyed the book so much!