Monday, May 28, 2012
Book Report: "Don't Mess with Travis"
I had the pleasure of reading an entire book recently! Hallelujah! I am excited because it is rare for me to finish a book these days. I'm either too busy or too tired to get through whatever book is sitting on my nightstand.
So when I started Don't Mess with Travis by Bob Smiley and finished it in 3 days, I totally shocked myself. Scott picked it up for me at a book signing in Austin on a recent business trip. I started it Friday and finished it this afternoon. And honestly, that's quite a feat considering it was also the weekend my parents were in town, Tyler turned 4 and we had a party (more on that later!), and it was Memorial Day weekend. Go me!
But really, the author made it easy. This was a serious page turner! What's it about? Basically, it's the story of a conservative Texas governor that has the guts to go up against big Washington, big government, entrenched Democrats, the President of the United States, and a lot of the Establishment to stand up for what he believes in. It's fiction. And it's seriously funny!! And that is saying something when you consider it's about politics. Scott is reading it too and we've both been chuckling and sharing excerpts with one another, as Smiley weaved in some great one-liners and references to current events and personalities.
One of my favorite things to do while reading was to draw parallels between Smiley's fictional characters (the governor, his academia sidekick, the President, and some other Washington power players) and real life politicians and political insiders. If you follow national politics, you will pick up on several of these. And who knows, maybe I missed some. The way he was able to combine a truly funny, inspiring, and quick moving story with parallels to real life politics was uncanny. And being kind of an American history nerd, I learned a thing or two, which was a bonus. Smiley had clearly done some research to make this story seem very plausible with accurate and helpful historical references to build the storyline.
All in all a great read! To be honest, I'm a little bummed I finished it so quickly. I think he needs to write another political fiction soon. Or do a sequel! Or heck, they should just make a movie out of it. Scott pointed out it would be a great movie and I immediately responded with, yes, but what Hollywood movie studio would make a movie about a likable and courageous conservative Texas governor? Silence... he didn't have a response to that. Ha.
If you are wondering how I heard about this book, well, it's because I happen to know the author! We are old high school friends (or "longtime", as he wrote in the inscription of my book). Bob has written another fabulous book (about Tiger Woods), and has also written for TV. Believe it or not, he was my editor for the school newspaper when I was a senior! So yes, I may be a bit biased, having known him for almost 20 years (yikes) and being a conservative, but I am so proud of Bob and this book. I am going to recommend it to several of my friends, and I also think it'd be a great Father's Day gift. If you are so inclined, go check it out at Amazon or your local bookstore. It really is a fun and insightful read. The main character Ben Travis was funny, brave, and exhibited more common sense than almost any real politician today. He and the book were a breath of fresh air and also served as a reminder of what could be if we are willing to stand up for our beliefs. And, they made me laugh. A lot.