The Naked Storyteller
by Laura Michelle Thomas
Genre: Fiction, Contemporary Romance, Comedy
Harry Tyke is a flabby, divorced grade-six teacher on the verge of a monumental mid-life crisis when he unexpectedly ends up in a storytelling workshop taught by a creative, free-thinking teacher-turned-storyteller named Olga. The workshop awakens Harry’s long dead romantic side and hurls him into stories from his past, including his decision to give up on his dream of being a novelist to please his parents, a decision this classroom-weary teacher can no longer live with as he sags into his fifties.
Questioning contemporary ideas of what makes a happy and productive life in an increasingly digital world, this romantic comedy––set in Vancouver, Canada––will have you cheering for this unlikely leading man from start to finish.
The Naked Storyteller is an interesting tale of one man’s life as he searches for hope, love and forgiveness after years of living in disappointment. Harry Tyke is an overweight, unkempt, middle-aged teacher on the cusp of an emotional breakdown. He doesn’t like or understand the attitude and actions of his students. He dutifully takes care of a mother who viciously attacks him. He is ridiculed by students and faculty. And he is filled with regret for never pursuing his passion for writing.
His life sucks. But it’s about to get better . . . before it gets worse.
Harry is jarred out of his misery and bitterness at an educational conference by the sight of a striking woman in bright red heels. His best friend, James, is also intrigued and immediately launches a campaign to woo and bed the workshop presenter, Olga. Her training module is entitled “The Naked Storyteller”, sending both men into sexual fantasies about the woman and her red shoes. It is later explained that the title stems from her time in Mexico where she was forced to teach children without aid of books, paper or pens. She relied solely on storytelling and achieved remarkable results.
James is quickly shot down in his pursuit, surprised to find Olga’s attention focused more on his messy, ill mannered friend. Harry is even more surprised than James. As Harry attempts to use his storytelling skills to teach a class of unruly students, he realizes his style is missing something. He asks for Olga’s advice. Through her tutilege, he breaks the barriers and finally garners his student’s attention and respect. Unfortunately, he does so by sharing questionable details about his life including his mother’s stern actions, catching his wife with another man, ejecting her from his house while she is clad in leopard panties and being forced into a teaching career by his parents in return for the ownership of their upscale home. Needless to say, not all the parents are happy with the content of Harry’s “lessons” and soon complain to the principal.
The rest of the novel deals with Harry’s metamorphosis from unhappy to happy and dealing with his mother’s lies and rejection. Along the way, he and Olga must also overcome some relationship issues . . . trust being one of them.
The Naked Storyteller is touted as a comedy but I feel satirical is more appropriate. It’s a character driven tale so the pace moves a bit slower than a story with more drama. However, following Harry Tyke’s bumpy journey from miserable, brow beaten man to someone who follows his dream with confidence is a fascinating study in human nature.
Ms. Thomas has penned a compelling novel that will keep readers cheering and jeering for the unlikely hero while remaining sympathetic to the unfortunate events in his life. You’ll enjoy it.
About the Author:
LAURA MICHELLE THOMAS is an author with an opinion on just about everything she thinks is wrong with contemporary life in North America (which, in her opinion, is just about everything). Harry Tyke, the 52-year-old protagonist of The Naked Storyteller, is who Laura might be if she wasn’t the author of her own life and had a beard. When she’s not writing and telling her family to buzz off and let her work, she’s runs a very busy website through which she fosters the development of young writers around the world through free annual writing contests, young writers conferences and other inspirational stuff. With the assistance of her team of junior bloggers, editors and artists, Laura has the privilege of being publisher and senior editor of an international e-zine for young writers called jaBlog! To find out what novel project Laura is working on now, please visit her website (www.laurathomascommunications.com) and click on “Novels by Laura Michelle Thomas.”
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