Saturday, January 29, 2011

Book Review on "The Bookie's Runner" by Brendan Gisby

 Book review:

                           THE BOOKIE'S RUNNER
                                   BRENDAN GISBY

GENRE: Non-fiction.

We all would like to think that at some stage after our departure from the living world, someone, somewhere, would care enough to remember us, with fondness.

Brendan Gisby does that in this book. Yet more importantly he allows us to invade the life of his late father, Derry McKay.

The author takes us by the hand and joins us in the journey into who Derry McKay was, and what impact his life had on those that knew him. The author writes with a pen filled with love, regret, and at times anger at what can never be changed.

This is not an account glowing with metaphors about the late Derry McKay. It is far too honest for that.

What the author has achieved here is a lingering visual image of a man who seemed too gentle for the time he was born into.

A gentleman and a gentle man, Derry McKay was quick with a smile and quicker still to help anyone in need. He was a man who clearly adored his family, and worked long and hard to ensure them a safe and secure place in a difficult world.

Some people are larger than life, they strut about, garnering attention, drawing people to them by the sheer force of their personalities. These peacocks are memorable for reasons very different to those of the Author’s father.

Derry McKay was a man who never forgot how to dream. He clung to the belief that one day ... someday his ship would come in. He held that belief right up until the end of his life.

He held himself together in spite of the circumstances and the people around him that took those precious dreams and tried to trash them. He bent under the strain of providing for his large brood.

He turned gray and took on more work load in a vain attempt to make his family a little safer, a little more secure in an insecure world.

The very people he should have been able to trust with his fragile hopes and dreams, and his hard earned money, were so certain of his ultimate forgiveness that they made the continuing mistake of seeing him as weak. Calm acceptance of what life hands out is not a weakness.

It takes strength and wisdom to hold on to what you believe to be the right thing to do, when the easier thing would be to run.

Many men would have walked away from the poverty and the stress associated with it. Many men would have had their spirit broken by the process of dehumanizing that often accompany being poor. Derry McKay didn’t walk…he didn’t break, although he came painfully close to it. In staying, in continuing to work when his health deteriorated, in refusing to acknowledge that his illness was more than a painful problem that would heal with time; Derry McKay signed his own death certificate.

By virtue of the fact that he existed at all, the fact that I have just shared a patchwork of glimpses into his life, Derry McKay will always remain remembered. His life mattered. He counted for something. His son has proven just that in writing this book.

The Author's reaction, loss, pride and anger in recounting his memories of Derry McKay make for a powerful read.

Take the journey with Brendan Gisby. Meet, Derry Mckay. The man, the husband, the father, the son and the grandson…The Bookie’s Runner.

You will not regret it.

It is not a long journey...but the Author makes it a very memorable one.

Brendan Gisby
for more information on Brendan Gisby and his works see an interview with him on the link below.

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  1. Oh yes, Soooz, I totally agree with you about this book. I just finished reading it and posting my review on my book blog,, etc. I have known so many men like Derry McKay. They are the memorable ones, the ones who go through life unnoticed, but who make a contribution that builds and counts. I really value people like him.

  2. Excellent review Sooz and I'm sure I read this a little while back.
    I agree with both yours and George's sentiments.
    Sometimes people pass through our lives and cause this sort of impact.

  3. My Thanks to Tee and George. The book was a gentle journey in many ways. Yet it lingers in the memory.I'm so proud to own a copy.


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