Sunday, March 31, 2013

Book Review: Mr. Blue

Title: Mr. Blue
Author: Myles Connolly
Genre: Fiction*
My Rating: ****

Age Group: 16+ just because it's hard to appreciate. Nothing bad in it though.

My Summary: Where to begin? Mr. Blue is, according to the back cover of the book, "a young man who decides to take Christianity seriously, not as a chore but as a challenge". He's crazy--but way more sane than anyone around him. He lives in a packing box on the top of a roof for the sheer enjoyment and thrill, painting the box and kites, which he flies from time to time. He also loves letting balloons fly off with musical scores written on them. And yet he's not the least bit immature and has a very well-developed mind. Who is this man who spends a huge inheritance so quickly and with so little regret? This man who appears here and there, leaving impressions on the people he meets and then disappearing?
He is Mr. Blue. And he's awesome.
The narrative is done in first person, and such a beautifully honest first person it is. The narrator admires Mr. Blue at the same time as thinking him insane, but he struggles with ever admitting his admiration to Mr. Blue himself. Don't we all struggle like that at times? He sees the beauty of what Mr. Blue has, does, and is, and yet he cannot help but see the negative side, often only negative from worldly perspectives.
Could Mr. Blue actually survive? I highly doubt it. But he's that person you meet once (or twice) in your lifetime who's a true breath of fresh air. He has such a different way of looking at life that you are taken aback by what he suggests, reacting on instinct and drawing away, yet also seeing the beauty in what he is and has.
Mr. Blue is balance. He is joy, not happiness. Joy. He is Catholic.

Word of Warning: one must have patience. One must not be in any hurry. One must savor every word. Only then can you enjoy the book. At least, that's what I found. It's a great book, but I found that I really had to choose to pay attention to it in order to actually get anything out of it. Once I did that, I was utterly amazed.

Note on the Author: Myles Connolly wrote screenplays, 40 in all, but Mr. Blue is his  most famous work. It has been suggested that he was influenced by G. K. Chesterton's Orthodoxy which was published just a few years before Mr. Blue. Indeed, many of the themes are similar, or so John B. Breslin, S. J. says in his introduction to my copy of Mr. Blue. I wonder if Chesterton ever read it.
I think he would've smiled.

*It was so well done, and so out there but still so possible, that it took me forever to figure this out. I actually had to go back and read the introduction to find out whether it was fiction or not. It is, right? Correct me if I'm wrong :)

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