Ray Vs the Meaning of Life
Michael F. Stewart
Publication date: May 15th 2018
Genres: Young Adult, Coming-of-age
“Stewart presents readers with a dynamite coming-of-age story … A tale spins its answer to an age-old question into an inclusive, hilarious, and thought-provoking yarn.”—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
Grandma’s Last Will and Testament names Ray to inherit the trailer park. It’s a million-dollar estate with one hitch: to prove he’s not as aimless as he seems, Ray must discover the meaning of life by the end of the month. (She left the answer in an envelope.) If he fails, the camp goes to his estranged family.
How does anyone find the meaning of life while running a park full of misfit miners, would-be truck racers, and one demanding little girl? There’s a bear too. A grizzly. Maybe that’ll help?
This is the second book I've read by Michael F. Stewart. The first being Counting Wolves, a first person account into the world of a girl with mental illness. I was blown away by that one, so had a pretty high expectation when I began reading Ray vs The Meaning of Life, I wasn't dissapointed.
Once again, Mr. Stewart shows us what writing in first person present should look like. The words are beautifully chosen, the picture painted and the characters undeniably intriguiing! The one thing Mr. Stewart is exceptional at (besides making first person present readable to folks like me) is the way he makes truly unlikeable characters, redeembable. Those characters I hate in the beginning, we grow to understand and even empathize with as the story goes on, discovering who they are with our character, Ray.
In addition, there is always a lesson to be found in his novels. In this case, it's about the Meaning of Life. I know, that's extrememly broad, but that's why this book needs to be read. Not just by the Young Adult audience that is often the target of Mr. Stewart's writing, but by everyone. We adults will walk away with that necessary information we all need to find that path we are looking for.
Please take the time to grab a copy of this amazing novel. I'll defintely be looking for more of Mr. Stewart's books in the future. And if your kids are looking for a great read, just grab one of these, they won't be disappointed.
For seventeen year old Ray, life in the trailer park in the middle of nowhere was all he knew of life.When his grandma dies and is going to leave her fortune to him, but only if he can figure out the meaning of life, his world changes drastically.
With the help of a Guru and the people around him in the park, he may just find the change he is needing. Ray vs the Meaning of Life by Michael F Stewart is funny and heartwarming. I enjoyed this read AND it was first person. As you follow Ray’s journey, there are a few life lessons that are great reminders for us all. I enjoyed this book, following Ray and others as they figure out their meaning of life too. It is great reminder to take a look at a situation from different eyes and see how others are doing.
This would be a great High School English class book that teens could relate a bit to and help them to learn that it’s not “all about me” but I will jump down off my soapbox on that for now. Give this to a teen in your life for a summer read and take time to read it for yourself. It was a quick read that pulls you in and you want to know “what are they going to do now.”
Have fun and Be kind.
Michael F. Stewart embraces all forms of storytelling. In 2009, he created Bully For You for Scholastic Canada, a fully functioning social media platform with an embedded interactive story. He’s written graphic novels for Rubicon Publishing’s Boldprint series, illustrated early readers and novellas for Pearson (coming in 2019!), non fiction texts on Corruption and Children’s Rights; he even tried to convince the world that we needed a location based storytelling app with augmented reality (NARR8R)-we still do! He’s written adult horror, sci-fi, urban fantasy, and adventure. He’s even written books you’ll never find. But nothing is ever wasted. His most recent book, Counting Wolves, a contemporary YA, was named to Kirkus Reviews “Best Books of 2017” list. The Boy Who Swallows Flies (2018) won Killer Nashville’s Claymore Award, and the Assured Destruction Series won The Creation of Stories: Best YA Award at the Toronto International Book Fair. In 2016, Michael was selected to join the CFC/Entertainment One TV Adaptation Lab. Herder of four daughters, Michael lives to write in Ottawa where he was the Ottawa Public Library’s Writer in Residence and runs free writing workshops. To learn more about Michael and his next projects visit his website at www.michaelfstewart.com or connect via Twitter @MichaelFStewart.
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