By Cathy Baker
To Do the Deal consists of the ten tales of Kenneth Bodine: a power broker or “commissioned salesman.” Through captivating dialogue and hilarious, heartwarming antics, we are shown ten years of Kenneth’s family and work life as he bounces from job to job in an attempt to find his niche. Can he find his place in this world without losing all integrity?
To Do the Deal is truly a tale for everyone in the mood for a piece of family fiction rooted in the professional world. As a company man, for most of my adult life, I can really relate to Kenneth’s struggle for an honorable identity in business as well as at home. It’s an uncanny challenge to climb the corporate ladder without becoming a puppet, especially with Kenneth’s, and my, fundamental lack of people skills.
I loved Jodi, Kenneth’s wife; she reminded me heavily of my first wife. She was cool, independent, and very supportive throughout the stories. But the thing that rings a bell most is her way of forcibly nudging Ken down his path to success, or impending failure. As men, we need an ample pushing towards our ambitions. Yes, we’re lazy and try to take the easy way out. I think we all need a Jodi in our life.
Although each of these stories could easily stand alone, they did not lack in continuity with each other. I did not find a single error in the way of flow and plot movement. My only complaint rests in some of the characters. I found a few of them to be more caricatures than anything else. This may have been intentional; however, I felt more like I was reading a cartoon at times, than the story this book geared up for.
Cathy Baker’s writing style is lighthearted at times, and endearing when it needs to be. Her words had me literally shaking with laughter, especially when it came to the children and their schemes! Hilarious!
I recommend this odd collection of stories to anyone looking for a family-friendly good time. Cathy Baker is right up there with the best of them. I would almost classify this book as self-help/fiction/comedy/ inspirational; there’s a lot to be learned from Kenneth’s struggles, and I think To Do the Deal is something I could read several times just to find every hidden message. Great job!
By Cathy Baker
To Do the Deal by Cathy Baker is an interesting collection of contemporary fiction that I enjoyed very much. Ms. Baker took an original step away from your typical format and gave us the life of Kenneth and Cathy Bodine for a period time from 1991 to 2000 broken into sections by years, each started with a small illustration.
Kenneth and Cathy are an ordinary couple so there is nothing extraordinary about their lives but stepping inside the life of what might appear to be your average American couple was interesting. I felt at times like I was watching through their windows as they lived their lives, raised their children, dealt with their parents as they aged, and struggled like the rest of us.
There was something frustrating about the telling of this family’s lives aside from the lack of proofreading. I often felt that just as I was latching on to a part of their history, the story was cut off mid-telling. It became quite frustrating because the stories are started and, despite their significance, are never brought to fruition so to speak.
There was one extremely insightful thing I took from the story of these people’s lives that until now I probably never thought to be true. As a single mother it was actually very eye-opening and painful at the same time. Kenneth’s mother, Mary, is speaking with Cathy regarding how her son’s father disappeared from his life very early on. And Mary told her that it was almost easier that he left because then she didn’t have to deal with anyone else’s ideas about how to raise her child. It made me think how different my daughter might have been raised had her father been there. I dearly love the young woman my daughter has become so it made think how much I agree with Mary. It’s sad on the one hand to think about the struggles, but amazing because she turned out so well.