After having his heart broken by his girlfriend, Thomas – a highly ambitious and egotistical student of science and psychology – decides he will win her back by curing her mentally ill brother of the belief he is the reincarnation of Jesus Christ. In doing so, Thomas will gather two additional men who also believe they’re the Son of God and house all three in his apartment. He hopes that by forcing them to confront reality, they will drop their illusions and all three will be cured.
What’s that old saying? The best laid plans of mice and men often go awry?
I received an advanced copy from Simon & Schuster in exchange for an honest review.
I first encountered Will Ferguson earlier this year when I read Bastards and Boneheads – his comprehensive look at organizing Canada’s greatest leaders into one of the two aforementioned categories. Since Ferguson has also achieved considerable success as a fiction writer, I jumped at the chance to read his new novel The Shoe on the Roof when offered an advanced copy from Simon & Schuster.
The Shoe on the Roof takes a hard look at the “industry” of mental illness, shining a light on the willingness of doctors to throw pills at patients who are often misdiagnosed. I’m no expect in the field by any means, but the amount of work put in by Ferguson seemed staggering when it came to both medication as well as the histories of various disorders. Having both Thomas and his father often discuss their life’s work leads into fascinating conversations that educate as much as entertain.
Ferguson also draws on his strength as a humor writer, injecting a lot of comedy into the story, which never felt out of place. Moments where I laughed out loud were nestled between heavy scenes that helped the story to flow smoothly rather than bog it down. The novel seems tailor-made for a film adaptation, so I wouldn’t be surprised to see it optioned down the road.
Ferguson is a hell of a talented writer who seems to move effortlessly between both fiction and non-fiction. I look forward to catching up on his work over the coming months. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if he had another Giller Prize contender on his hands with this one.
The Shoe on the Roof is scheduled for release on October 17th, 2017.