Friday, January 9, 2009

Review: The Misadventures of Oliver Booth: Life in the Lap of Luxury by David Desmond


Poor Oliver Booth. He's big. He's sweaty. He's the proprietor of an antique shop in Palm Beach but his taste is questionable and his antiques are...well... not. He desperately wants to be part of high society but they know an outsider when they see one and he has no hope of breaking in. He can't keep an assistant, either, because his basic nature tends toward grumpy, lazy and greedy.

The big New Year's Eve party at the Morningwood Club is a big night for Oliver. He plans to recoup the steep ticket price by being first in line at the buffet table. Unfortunately, the evening is a complete disaster for him. But he does meet a smart young waiter, Bernard, who agrees to be the replacement for Oliver's recently fired assistant.

When Margaret Van Buren, the doyenne of Palm Beach society, pays a visit to Oliver's shop, he is eager to sell her a large quantity of his inventory. She picks out the only nice piece in the place, which turns out to have been selected by Bernard. It seems he has quite an eye. She offers Bernard, and Oliver by default, a trip to Paris to buy furnishings for her guesthouse.

Bernard & Oliver have vastly different ideas of what they are going to buy. Bernard wants to buy quality pieces at thrifty prices. Oliver wants to make the biggest possible profit off of Mrs. Van Buren. The trip to Paris is a contest of wills that is hilarious, Oliver doesn't have a prayer.

I loved the following paragraph. If you have traveled to Europe and arrived early in the morning, you will appreciate the wry humor:

"It was 9:15 in the morning, the hour at which most American travelers are dropped at the doorsteps of European hotels like so many exhausted babies, hoping desperately that their accommodations would be ready only to find that the departing guests had not yet vacated their rooms and would not do so for hours. Most of these unfortunate travelers are forced to wander the streets aimlessly, with intermittent stops to refuel with double espressos that become decreasingly potent as the effects of jet lag begin to sink in. This journey ends when they return to the registration desk of the hotel exhausted, disheveled, and halitotic, to be presented--in most but not all cases--with that most satisfying of rewards, a key to a room."

This book is a fun, light read that pokes fun at the pretentious, at the rich, at the self-important. Common sense and honesty are rewarded, deviousness and greed are bested in the wittiest possible way. I really enjoyed it and am looking forward to reading the further misadventures of Oliver and Bernard.

Visit David Desmond's website here.

The Misadventures of Oliver Booth is published by Greenleaf Book Group Press. ISBN 978-1-929774-56-2

Order The Misadventures of Oliver Booth from Amazon

10 comments:

Amy said...

I also laughed out loud during this book and enjoyed it so much!

Toni said...

I have been reading reviews on this one today. I was undecided, but now I think I'd like to read it sometime.

The Tome Traveller said...

I would read it before going to sleep and my husband kept going "What ARE you laughing at?" It was very funny, I liked it.

bermudaonion said...

This book was fun, but I thought it got a little silly at times.

Nicole said...

I wasn't crazy about this one, but I did feel badly for Oliver. He was so obnoxious but still they put him through a lot, poor thing..

Molly said...

I have read a couple of reviews on other sites and thought this sounded like something I might enjoy reading (perhaps this summer). However, your quote put me over the edge: it is absolutely spot on accurate. I may need to move the time-frame up to spring break!

Michele at Reader's Respite said...

LOL - I love the quote, Carey. Too true and too funny!

kalea_kane said...

I love a good laugh out loud book. :)

Zibilee said...

This sounds like a fun book, I will have to check it out.

Becca said...

Sounds like it would be hard to feel sorry for Oliver but the contest of wills between the two men seems like a lot of fun. And I like the quote so maybe I'll have to give this one a try.

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About Me

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New Hampshire, United States
Bibliophile, Anglophile, Traveller... I have been an avid reader all of my life, since I took the Dr. Seuss Dictionary away from my Mom when I was less than a year old because I wanted to read it myself. In college, where I earned my degree in English Literature, I was often asked "What are you going to do with it?" Now I finally have the answer to that question!!! Being employed as a Flight Attendant for twenty years has given me a lot of life experience and, better still, a lot of time to read. I love to travel for fun, too.