Good Reads: "Decline of the Lawrence Welk Empire: A Novel" by Poe Ballantine
As a child, my grandparents spoiled me in every way possible, but when Sunday night, Seven PM rolled around, they were suddenly quite strict. There was nothing, nothing in this world that could keep them from watching "The Lawrence Welk Show". It was then that they became different people, their faces transported to an otherworldly Nirvana as they watched those magical bubbles float across the screen.
And that's why the title of The Decline of the Lawrence Welk Empire grabbed me immediately. The author, Poe Ballantine, is a frequent writer in The Sun. He's a fantastic writer of the truth, in all its nuances. I didn't know, when I picked up the book, if he would pull through on the fiction front.
The book starts out a little bit worrisome, seeming like the ramblings of some middle aged guy about his raucous youth. Edgar, the main character, gets kicked out of college for acting like a complete idiot. His one saving grace is that he knows he's been an idiot, so I read on. And then, through some series of events that really could happen, and really could happen to some idiot like me, he follows his best friend to an island in the Caribbean. I think it's a fake island that Ballantine made up- no matter. Once there, Edgar sees the darker side of his friend, he falls into lust with a worrisome woman, and also it turns into, well, kind of a zombie book. It gets really awesome, actually. I couldn't put it down for the last one hundred pages. I mean, it doesn't get cheesy at all. The zombie thing falls into the storyline as naturally as drinking orange juice for breakfast. The main character, Edgar, doesn't believe in zombies, of course.
Now that I'm done with, Decline of the Lawrence Welk Empire: A Novel, I feel lonely. I want to go back there again.