Balloon Animals ~ Jonathan Dunne

  • Title: Balloon Animals
  • Author: Jonathan Dunne
  • Genre: Literature, Fiction
  • Format: eBook
  • Source: Own Copy
  • Reviewed by: Emma, Guest Reviewer
  • Rating: 5 out of 5

Description:  BALLOON ANIMALS is a pilgrimage and road-trip of unusual dimensions.

Follow me, Jonny Rowe, on a wild goose-chase from Ireland to the USA with my American grandfather’s remains in my red birthday balloon. I use ‘remains’ in the loosest sense of the word: my grandfather, 45, puffed his last breaths of air into my birthday balloon before suffering a massive heart attack right there at my birthday party which becomes my deathday party.

Feeling responsible for 45’s death and as a thank-you for filling Clinical Dad’s void after leaving that questionable suicide note, I make it my quest to return 45 to his birthplace amongst the corn of Iowa, USA, suspended inside his soul-bubble. This journey might also help me with my identity-crisis … I’m a genealogy student, by the way. And who knows, maybe I’ll find love. I tend to find things when I’m not looking for them. I have more detours than I had planned because 45 isn’t the man we thought we knew … if we ever knew him.

Join me on a desperate race against time to unveil the truth as my birthday balloon begins to deflate and loose 45 forever to the wind.

Review:  The book starts funny and just kept going. I frequently found myself laughing out loud at “Mrs Brown’s Boys” type Irish humour which, I have to say, Mr Dunne captures beautifully with his observational writing.

The book is very clever in that it lulls you into a false sense of complacency. Leading you to think the book will be one farcical episode after another, which I quite like. However, the book is much more than that. Once you have a clear sense of who Jonny Rowe and his back-up cast (Cha, The Reiki Mistress and Vera), the story suddenly bursts forth amidst the humour and grows into itself. It still maintains its humour but the adventure really promotes curiosity in the reader and the book then takes on the mantle of “Mystery”. That’s when I found it really difficult to put the book down. I just had to know who 45 really was!

My respect for Jonny Rowe grew through the story. I do believe that was Mr Dunne’s intention as Jonny Rowe himself matured and grew to respect himself through the ups and downs of his adventure. This book is a story of personal discovery, written under the guise of humour, but with a genuinely emotional backbone that, in my opinion, provides the foundation for the humour to work.

I doff my cap to you, Mr Dunne, and thank you warmly for the laughs (and the tears).

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