Thursday, August 6, 2015

Fishbowl by Bradley Somer

Fishbowl by Bradley Somer
Genre: General Fiction
Publisher: St. Martin's Press

Publish Date: 8/4/2015
Pages: 304
Format: Hardcover, ebook

My Review:
I'm not even sure how to convey how I felt about this novel. It's amazing but on an entirely different level. The fact that the author, Bradley Somer could weave the plot lines together like he did and make them work, make the reader care about each and every character on some level is more than amazing.  This is a book I will think about for years.  And it will make me think about the people I cross paths with more patience, care and love.  Yes there will still be that guy driving slow in the left lane that will tick me off, but this book will cause me to consider lives of others besides mine.

Mr. Somer starts us off with the tale of Ian, who at that moment in the first chapter is still happily swimming in his fishbowl on the top floor of The Seville on Roxy.  And there begins this tale.  First it's a tale of Ian's descent after he jumps out of his fishbowl, but it's also a tale of other people in the building and how even though they only know each other in passing, if even, they cross paths with each other and their lives overlap in small and large ways.  It's a story of how one small gesture can mean the world to someone.  It's a story of separate lives that touch in some way.  It's a story of people.

I loved each and every character in some way or at least I could relate to them in some way.  I was amazed at how someone I hated in the beginning was someone I liked by the end.  Each chapter alternates with glimpses into the lives of Conner, Katie, Faye, Deb, Petunia Delilah, Danny, Claire, Herman, Garth, and Jimenez and yes Ian the goldfish.  Each has a story and every story will bring out some emotion and a way to connect to each character.  By the end of the book, I felt like I was living in The Seville on Roxy and they were all my neighbors and friends.

The plot is character-driven. Learning bits and pieces about each character through the present and sometimes flashbacks, it's wonderful to move through the book and slowly put the building blocks in place to see how all the characters overlap, meet and mingle and how each touches the life of another in some way, sometimes a way that's not even noticeable. It shows a look at the beauty in the world and hope in circumstances that seem to lack hope and beauty.

I am in awe.  This book was a wonderful and entertaining read.  The characters are heart-warming, they are funny and most important, they are real. To show how much the story touched me, I still remember specifics and think on them almost a week after finishing the book.  A lot of the time, I forget what I read except for a few things after I finish reading.  Not with this one, I still feel like I am living with the characters.  It's great, it's entertaining and it's refreshing. It teaches you so many things. So go out and grab this one. I loved it.  I hope you will too.  Come join the group at The Seville on Roxy, pull up a chair and get pulled into their world, their building and their lives.  Mr. Somer is a master at making you feel right there.  Check it out, you won't regret it!

And you have to get the hardback of this just because the little surprise on the pages is adorable and so appropriate.  If you buy the ebook, make sure you get to a bookstore to check out the pages of this gem.

My Rating: 5.0/5.0


A goldfish named Ian is falling from the 27th-floor balcony on which his fishbowl sits. He's longed for adventure, so when the opportunity arises, he escapes from his bowl, clears the balcony railing and finds himself airborne. Plummeting toward the street below, Ian witnesses the lives of the Seville on Roxy residents.

There's the handsome grad student, his girlfriend, and the other woman; the construction worker who feels trapped by a secret; the building's super who feels invisible and alone; the pregnant woman on bed rest who craves a forbidden ice cream sandwich; the shut-in for whom dirty talk, and quiche, are a way of life; and home-schooled Herman, a boy who thinks he can travel through time. Though they share time and space, they have something even more important in common: each faces a decision that will affect the course of their lives. Within the walls of the Seville are stories of love, new life, and death, of facing the ugly truth of who one has been and the beautiful truth of who one can become.

Sometimes taking a risk is the only way to move forward with our lives. As Ian the goldfish knows, "An entire life devoted to a fishbowl will make one die an old fish with not one adventure had."

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Author Biography

BRADLEY SOMER was born in Sydney, Australia and grew up in Canada and holds degrees in Anthropology and Archaeology. His short fiction has appeared in literary journals, reviews and anthologies. His debut novel, Imperfections, published in Canada, won the 2013 CBC Bookie Award for debut of the year. Bradley currently lives in a little old house in the city of Calgary, Canada, where he works on his writing projects and tries to ignore the wild growth that his backyard has become.

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***I received this book from the publicist for an honest review.  I was not compensated in any other way except receiving the book for free. My links for Amazon and Book Depository are affiliate links. ***