Back in July I blogged about a little bookstore back in Indiana that was giving away free books; they were advance copies and I loaded up on a few of them and felt like a bandit. I just finished reading one of those books, The Ha-Ha by Dave King and let me tell you, I really feel like a bandit now.
This book was amazing. Incredible. And I've heard nothing about it at all. Pity, really.
Ha-Ha tells the story of Howard, a man who returned home from the Army scarred (literally and figuratively) and unable to speak, read, or write. Besides that, he is a man of "regular intelligence" who has carved out a regular routine in life...until his close friend and former love interest Sylvia goes into rehab and leaves him to care for her son Ryan while she is in recovery.
It's hard enough adapting to life with an 8-year-old boy; you can imagine how much harder it would be when you have no way of communicating with him except for gestures. With the help of his three roommates, Howard is more than willing to accept the task (mostly because he is still in love with Sylvia and despite his handicap, dreams of spending his life with her and Ryan).
What unfolds is a story that draws you in and has you rooting for Howard the entire time. You understand his wants, his longings, and his frustrations. His highs are invigorating and his heartbreaks are truly heartbreaking.
The time spent with Ryan changes the lives of everyone involved in a variety of ways and when I got to the end of the book, I was sad to have to say goodbye.
The Ha-Ha gets my highest recommendation. Check it out at a local library or bookstore near you. Thumbs up!