I am not much of a believer in predestination, but there are occasions where events unfold in a strangely coincidental and unfathomable fashion. The Consequence Of Skating is a case in point. This is the third book in as many weeks that has moved me a great deal, and reminds me of George Orwell’s style. Oh, not the trash taught in schools, rather the real Orwell. That penchant for dark characters with a slightly self destructive edge.

In The Consequence Of Skating we meet the main character Mickey Greene, an up and coming actor, but one that on stage gave one ad-lib too many. It was not adrenalin flowing through his system, rather it was cocaine. Mickey is still paying the price for that ‘one line too many’.

Out of jail, for sure, but still his debt must be serviced. His atonement being banishment to the position of night security guard at a local amusement park Birch Bow Adventure. Closed for the season other than the skating rink and the aquarium that are open for a few short hours each day, Mickey’s empire is hardly grandiose. A tin hut, an electric heater, that also serves as the oven to heat up Pop Tarts, pretty much is the summary of his life.

Mickey does have one dream, maybe it would be better to describe it as an obsession, to direct a theatrical version of Pinter’s Moonlight. There are few occasions that Mickey does not have a copy of the script and his copious notes within easy reach.

Steven Gillis does a masterful job of introducing the other members of the cast. The, at first defiant 12 year old Cam, a young man who is fighting his own demons as he watches his mother Kate battle cancer.

Sarah, the lounge singer, who gives nonjudgmental and freely. Ex girlfriend Darcie, aspiring and increasingly successful actress is also thrown into the mix.

There are other cast members, but the focal point of The Consequence Of Skating is Mickey.

I have a strict rule, I will not give spoilers. I will leave that in the realms of others. I found this book to be a deeply moving piece of writing. At the end of the book Steven Gillis has a short Acknowledgment section. In part it reads:

This book was written  during a very difficult time. To all of you who showed support, I appreciate more than you will ever know. To those who ran to the hills, well I doubt that you will be reading this anyway so my saying *&^% you will probably be wasted.

Life is a series of decision points, once made many can never be redone. Steven Gillis has done a very fine job of taking the reader inside the mind of his Pinter obsessed actor Mickey Greene. Mickey is well meaning, he genuinely cares for others, if he has a failing it is in his naiveté of those around him.

Steven Gillis is clearly a studier of human nature, both its strengths and weaknesses. I recently read a non fiction book on that very subject. The author explained that man is inherently good, he has a predisposition to make good choices. That certainly sums up Mickey Greene and to a large extent most of the other characters in the book. However one poor decision can wipe out the results of many good decisions.

I enjoyed The Consequence Of Skating a great deal, it is a very human book. Even without reading the Acknowledgments it is obvious that it was written from the heart, and at a time of turmoil for the author. I am definitely planning of seeking out Steven Gillis’ other books.

You can order your copy of The Consequence Of Skating from Amazon by using the link above.

Simon Barrett

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