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Book Review – Wild Dreams of Reality by Jerry Ratch

March 11, 2009 by · 2 comments

Michael Todd Burns

Photo: Cia De Foto


In Jerry’s first novel we are introduced to Philip Janov, a man whose life has been squelched by obligations not of his own making. On an oft times hilarious ride through his life we see what a contentious older brother, a wildly erratic wife, and an insanely jealous rival can do to a psyche.

In the midst of all this Philip meets his soul mate Adrienne Parker, almost blows it, inadvertently commits a few crimes, commits a few with relish, and is trying to look at himself with honesty while living in a maelstrom.

Did I mention the guns? The midnight rides through the streets of Berkley with the drug crazed cuckold brother, or the body in the greenhouse?  Well, be prepared this one is a tornado of a book. 182 pages of pleasure from one cover to the other, I read it four times because I did not want it to end. The writing style is evocative of innocent palaver and confessional conversation, but don’t be fooled, a caustic wit lords over these pages.


For example on page 89 as Philip and his brother Darrell creep up the driveway of Darrell’s house to catch Darrell’s wife in the act:


“Getting down on his knees, Darrell leaned all the way forward on his hands and I did too, feeling the cold damp grass. Darrell put the knife between his teeth, but as he crept forward on all fours his knee hit a rock, and I saw his eyes close on the pain as he hung silently on only three limbs, with his hurt knee held stiffly in the air. Then he forced his knee back down on the ground, putting his weight on it while his teeth grinned around the knife in his mouth. And still we kept creeping forward, focused on the light ahead.”


And then there is Adrienne’s wannabe boyfriend Samuel who has missed the boat with her by procrastination, but is desperately trying to maintain a belief that he will somehow prevail through his undying loyalty. Samuel feigns interest in a property that Philip is representing so that he can get him alone to confront him. In a small snippet of their conversation Jerry demonstrates a rather hilarious doubt in Philip’s otherwise confident demeanor. Page 106:


“’Q.E.D.?’ I was getting really irked. ‘What the hell does that mean?’

‘End of proof,’ he said, ‘that’s what. I’ve outlasted all the rest of her boyfriends. I can outlast you too.’

I felt like taking him by the throat, and thought about doing just that for a minute, rolling it over in my mind, but in my mind’s eye I saw myself actually doing it, and I felt ridiculous.

‘Boyfriends,’ I asked. How many were there?’”


The book’s detail and intricately woven insight will prove a true blessing to any bookshelf, or better yet an open copy in the hands of an eager reader will grant sagely wisdom to those wishing to understand life, relationships, and existential purpose.


Buy this book!

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