After much contemplation, I have decided that my favorite ’05 novel is this one. In case you can’t read the title, it’s The Ha-Ha, and the author is Dave King. This is Mr. King’s first novel, and he’s already brilliant. Envy threatened to rear its ugly head while I was devouring this book. If I could write this well, I’d quit my job and take up writing for a living, for sure!
I hardly ever buy books because I have the technology to interlibrary loan them, but I made an exception with this one and ordered it from Amazon to give to my father for Christmas. He loved it, and that’s really saying something because he’s the pickiest reader I know. The book’s hero is a disabled Vietnam veteran named Howard Kapostash. His brain was damaged by a land mine in ‘Nam, and as a result of his injury, Howard is unable to speak. Sylvia Mohr, his narcissistic ex-girlfriend, saddles him with Ryan, her 9 year old son, while she trots off to rehab to kick her cocaine habit. The plot centers on how Howard and his roomates deal with having this kid in their lives, and how Howard deals with everything else as well. There are so many layers to this novel: there’s the current story, there’s the backstory and there’s the story inside Howard’s mind.
Howard grows up in The Ha-Ha. It isn’t easy for him, but by the end of the novel, he has evolved into a better man. I wish this could be said for some of the men I know in the real world!