Book Review: Terms and Conditions: A Novel* by Robert Glancy

Terms and ConditionsThere are no new stories*

*The same stories are told in different ways.

This is surely the case with Robert Glancy’s, Terms and Conditions. Man is disenchanted with life so he grasps at a second chance.

His novel kept me turning pages because of the form in which he told this story very familiar story.* Every page is like a contract (The Terms and Conditions of X) with copious amounts of illuminating fine print in the form of hilarious and at times poignant footnotes.

The story is not a new one. In fact, it is reminiscent of the movie version of James Thurber’s, Walter Mitty, “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty”. Frankly Shaw is definitely a Walter Mitty type of guy whose life comes in dribs and drabs because of his loveless marriage and meaningless job as a lawyer who writes the terms and conditions (fine print). Apologies in advance for any spoilers. When we meet Franklyn, he has amnesia as a result of a terrible accident the cause of which is a mystery. We don’t know that his job is meaningless or his marriage is loveless because he doesn’t. The journey to his “hypermnesia” and how he resolves his blah life is suspenseful, funny, and filled with enough poignant ‘aha’ moments to catapult the reader into his or her own sort of self-actualization, I think.

I enjoyed the time jumping which helped to enhance the suspense. It gave me a fuller view of Frank and his relationship to his wife, family, and co-workers. We get to know Malcolm, his brother, primarily through e-mails, but he looms large. The villains are even likable to a point, but I cheered when Frank triumphed in the end. I must admit wanting to read the scene where he confronted Sandra, his wife’s estranged best friend.

Read this book. The only terms and conditions are that you should prepare to be entertained with a keen desire to read every footnote.

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