Page count: 288 pages
Publisher: Endicott and Hugh Books
Dr. Albert Paugh is flunking retirement. After selling his Vashon Island veterinary practice, he soon finds himself not only lost without his work, but suddenly single. His efforts to carve out a new life, both as a bachelor and a retiree, only leave him feeling like his golden years are fast becoming years of gloom. His regrets pile up until he moves to Baker’s Beach where he gets to know a very special neighbor, learns that friends are the family you choose, and finds a new sense of purpose. The Reinvention of Albert Paugh is a sweet, funny love story about retirees that will delight readers (and dog lovers) of any age.
The Reinvention of Albert Paugh is the third book in Jean Davies Okimoto’s Island Trilogy, following The Love Ceiling and Walter’s Muse.
Buy, read, and discuss The Reinvention of Albert Paugh
Jean Davies Okimoto is an author and playwright whose books and short stories have been translated into Japanese, Italian, Chinese, German, Danish, Korean and Hebrew. She is the recipient of numerous awards including Smithsonian Notable Book, the American LibraryAssociation Best Book for Young Adults, the Washington Governor’s Award and the International Reading Association Readers Choice Award. Her picture book, Blumpoe the Grumpoe Meets Arnold the Cat was adapted by Shelly Duvall for the HBO and Showtime television series “Bedtime Stories.” Her debut novel for adults The Love Ceiling was a season’s pick by the King County Library System, named to the ABA Indie Next Reading Group List and ebook Fiction Winner in the 2009 Indie Next Generation Awards. She has appeared on CNN, Oprah, and The Today Show. Jeanie, who is also a retired psychotherapist, began writing for adults when she and her husband Joe retired to Vashon Island in 2004 where they (and their dogs Bert and Willie) are visited by deer families and their six grandchildren.
For more information on Ms. Okimoto, please visit her website at www.jeandaviesokimoto.com.
The Reinvention of Albert Paugh is a quirky and sweet novel, with an idyllic Pacific Northwest island setting and a cast of characters that can charm the pants off you, even while they’re driving you crazy. Reading it is like visiting the village you never knew you wanted to live in.
If I had to pick a word – a single word – to describe the eponymous title character, I would describe Albert as ‘befuddled,’ and while this novel could be considered to be ‘about’ his love of animals, his divorce, his post-retirement lifestyle, in many ways it’s really about Albert clearing away his terminal befuddlement and seeing the world with fresh, new, eyes.
As someone who has watched her parents move through many post-retirement configurations, and as someone who is no longer in any of the ticky-boxes that are anything other than ‘middle aged’ (this despite the fact that I got carded buying wine on Friday) this story felt especially relevant and poignant. We will all wake up one morning and realize our lives are not what we planned or hoped, and that the only people who can change that is ourselves.
Author Jean Davis Okimoto has a knack for characterization – every person (and dog) in this novel felt completely real, from the annoying woman with the corgi to the wife who demands a divorce in the early chapters, and the settings also felt incredibly cinematic.
This is the third book in a trilogy, but I haven’t read the first two. While I’m certain doing so would have given me greater familiarity with Vashon Island and it’s denizens, I did not feel like I was coming into the middle of a story at all.
If you want to read something that will charm the pants off you, and then get you out of your chair to play fetch with the dog in your life, The Reinvention of Albert Paugh would be an excellent choice.
Goes well with fried chicken, mashed potatoes, cole slaw, and a cold locally brewed craft beer.
Monday, August 3rd: Book Dilettante
Wednesday, August 5th: Mama Vicky Says
Monday, August 10th: The Book Wheel
Tuesday, August 11th: Bibliotica
Wednesday, August 12th: Mockingbird Hill Cottage
Thursday, August 13th: BookNAround
Friday, August 14th: Peeking Between the Pages
Monday, August 17th: Patricia’s Wisdom
Wednesday, August 19th: Life is Story
Monday, August 24th: Joyfully Retired
Wednesday, August 26th: From the TBR Pile
Friday, August 28th: View from the Birdhouse