18 Jun 2009

Only Strange People Go To Church.

Only Strange People Go To Church By Laura Marney.

Maria, a community worker, looks after an unruly gang of mentally disabled people. She wants to put on a community show but lacks both a venue and a community to perform in. Ray's workshop, actually a deconsecrated church, could be the answer to her prayers. The trouble is, Ray wields an unnatural influence over people. Can he be trusted? On the other hand, Dezzie, her colleague, is a great guy; he's tall, handsome, and he doesn't mind women with concave chests.

After an alarming incident with a flasher and auditions that include the Can-Can Grans, Maria succeeds in setting up a Musical Extravaganza. However, in doing so she suffers a moral dilemma that would a curl a bishop's hair. If Maria does 'the right thing' she'll wreck careers, break hearts and end up alone and flat chested. What is 'the right thing' and should she do it?

A surprising book. At first view it seems to be light-weight, what I would call an easy read, but then there are the thought provoking events and an occurrence that is both shocking, explosive and totally unexpected.

'Only Strange People' is ironic, full of exaggerated characters and twists and turns, sometimes far fetched and occasionally offensive but it is also extremely warm and full of humour. Anyone who has ever worked in a community setting is bound to recognise some of the characters and events portrayed.

Firstly, there is Maria, key worker to Blue group (Brian, Fiona, Jane and Martin), who decides to organize the Community Event with her colleague, Dezzie, with a view to both her promotion and 'solving the Inclusion Issue'. Then there is Ray who, with his 'Come One, Come All' policy, quickly becomes a firm favourite in the community and, finally, there are all the various characters who make the book what it is - but beware, very few are as they first seem.

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