Book Review: Cracks in the

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Book Review

Cracks in the Foundation  
by Erica Ferencik
(Waking Dream Press: paper, 293 pages, $14.95).

Review by Rebecca Rule

Midwinter -- optimistically speaking.  Are you in
need of a good laugh?  A load of good laughs?  
Found ‘em.  In a novel by Erica Ferencik,
in the Foundation.
 Cracked me up. Googled her blog
WakeUpandSmelltheBlog .  Cracked me up.  Googled
her publisher,
Waking Dream Press .  Wicked
cracked me up.   

At the  Waking Dream Press site,  click “books” and you get
Cracks in the
.  Click “authors,” up comes Erica Ferencik.  Click “events,” and
there’s a list  for Cracks and Ferencik. “Featured book,” you guessed it:  
in the Foundation.
That’s the joke.  It’s just one book! So far.

Ferencik promotes her satire by satirizing book promotion. It’s genius.  Just like
something Ferencik’s main character Ginger Kanadoo would do -- make the
most of what you got, even if all you’ve got is an outhouse on a hill. At least
Ginger’s outhouse has a view of ‘the sumpy muck of Lake Squamskootnocket
which lay like a brown diaper stain to the west.”  Outhouse with a view. Who
could resist?

Ginger, like Ferencik, is a realtor. Ferencik works down Massachusetts way.  
Ginger Kanadoo, with her Kanadoo attitude, has won realtor of the year in
Squamskootnocket, New York, for thirty-five years running.  That’s
Squamskootnocket -- an old Indian word for “hideous death of a thousand
innocents” -- south of Poughkeepsie, north of Voorheesvrankinville, east of
Vanderskleet, and west of Bangerlangersville.  

But this year Squamskootnocket, like the rest of the country, has suffered an
economic downturn.  In fact, Ginger hasn’t sold anything in months, and the
only property she’s even listed is the aforementioned outhouse. Times is tough.
Her own house faces foreclosure, a worry that Ginger keeps to herself.  Her
daughter, Harvest (named after Harvest Nut Bread) -- a goth, wiccan, bisexual
teenager-- has enough to worry about, especially after losing her dad, also a
realtor, in a freak septic tank accident.  

He’d fallen in during an inspection and, well, there was just nothing anyone
could do. Evidently there were bystanders but no one volunteered to jump in
and save him.  The rest of the septic guys said that though they had noticed that
“the realtor had disappeared,” they hadn’t done anything about it because they
figured “another one would show up soon enough.”

Ginger misses Carl, but luckily, or maybe not, she’s surrounded by family -- her
boss and brother Dickie Kanadoo, her aunt Maxie Kanadoo (at 93, the world’s
oldest living realtor), and her mom Big Jean Kanadoo, spunky as ever and
pulling the strings on the business from The Final Rest, assisted living facility.  

Big Jean raced down the hall in her wheelchair, her oxygen tank clanging
against the back of it as she careened into other residents shuffling or wheeling
alongside her.

“Get outta my way! I’m tryin’ ta get to bingo!!” she shrieked, arms flailing,
causing one old gent to fall backwards, luckily into an easy chair.

Life as the Kanadoos know it changes when Dickie hires a hotshot city realtor,
Tandy Brickenhausen, and decides to put the office on line.  Ginger loathes the
Internet, but not as much as she loathes Tandy.  

Here Ginger gets her first look at her nemesis:

A tall, whip-slim woman with cropped black hair stood at the coffee station
making herself a cup of tea.  She wore a sharply tailored suit with patterned
stockings and black boots that zipped up to her knees.

“Um, Dick.”

He joined her staring contest.

“What’s that?”

“That, my dear,” he said, hiking up his pants past his belly, “is the future of
Kanadoo Real Estate.”

Over Ginger’s dead body, or perhaps Tandy’s (Ginger calls her “the thing in the
boots”). Game on. Ginger will hold an open house with two, no four, no SIX
balloons, plus brownies.

If that doesn’t move her outhouse on a hill, her name isn’t Kanadoo. Another
piece of luck, her best friend, Regina Freenspeet, has found true love via the
Internet and is selling out to join DeeShaun and his five children by five
different mothers and begin her new life. Regina trusts Ginger to sell her
house.  Only problem, Regina’s house smells. Real bad.  Like . . . an overused
outhouse. So to speak.  Always has.

Bad economy or no bad economy, Tandy or no Tandy, stink or no stink, Ginger
will persevere.  Maybe, as her daughter suggests, she’s a tad bit lacking in the
moral compass department.  Maybe she drinks a wee bit too much and could
stand to lose forty or fifty pounds. But this is Ginger’s time,
Cracks in the
describes her journey of self-discovery. That’s right. A stint in prison
(don’t ask, just read the book), provides just the motivation she needs. As she
says to Maxie:  

I’ve been doing some hard thinking.  You know, having thoughts. I’ve been
going to these AA meetings here just for something to do.  It’s that or pump
iron. I mean, I like my Taylor Country but I’m no alky. Anyway, people talk
about their feelings and stuff, which, I don’t know if you’ve ever thought
about feelings -- I certainly haven’t spent much time on that -- but I realized
this, Max:  I’ve been to Squamskootnocket, I’ve been to Vanderskleet, I’ve
been to Bangerlangersville, I’ve even been to Saskaweegee-on-Lake, but you
know, I’ve never been to me.

Ginger Kanadoo, you keep on keeping on.  We’re all burdened with a flaw or
two -- who wouldn’t flatten Tandy with a Caterpillar given half a chance --  but
your soaring, though often misguided, spirit is just the spring tonic this middle-
aged muddler needs.

Looking forward to the sequel.  Or the movie.

About the book reviewer: Rebecca Rule is a humorist, author and storyteller, who is the
author of two collections of short fiction, including The Best Revenge, winner of the NH
Writers Project award for fiction.  Watch for her new book: Live Free and Eat Pie: A
Storyteller's Guide to New Hampshire from Islandport Press, which also publishes and
distributes Bert and I CDS. And check my blog,
Live Free and Eat , for travel
tips, Yankee humor and lots of stories.
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