Author: Sean Michaels
Publisher: Random House Canada
Released: January 21st, 2020
I received a copy of The Wagers through NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.
The Wagers is the second novel released by the one and only Sean Michaels. This time around, he’s writing about a comedian, and he needs a major change in his life. Or in his luck. Either would suffice, at this point.
Theo Poitris has been doing standup comedy on the side since he was a teenager. He’s loved the thrill and truth of it, refusing to ever tell a joke more than once. But then one day he realizes that he’s chasing an old dream and not getting anywhere, so it’s time for a dramatic change.
“When Theo went on stage he wanted to be able to trust whatever happened – to get up and tell a joke and to know without a doubt, for a few faint seconds, whether that joke was any good.”
The Wagers is one of those slow-burning, steady buildup novels. Theo’s journey is an eclectic one, but it takes a bit of time before we can truly dive into the insanity that is waiting for us.
Actually, before I begin my review, let me take a step back for a moment. I have a confession to make; the real reason that The Wagers caught my attention? The cover! I’m a sucker for black cats, so this cutie on the cover immediately caught me and made me want to learn more about it. Sadly, that appearance is more thematic than literal. Still a great cover!
Much of Theo’s life has remained static for years, and that does show clearly in this novel. I’ll admit that I had trouble getting into this book, because of how slow the beginning was. I was impressed with the writing – but I just found myself wishing time and again that something more would happen.
The story does start ramping up in time, adding more and more inane bits of humor and reference throughout. It actually gets a bit crazy – in a fun way. But the journey to get there diminished some of that for me.
On the whole, I found that the ending made the read worthwhile. Actually, the writing itself did that. I liked Michaels’ way of writing, regardless of what was actually happening on the pages. The humor and conclusion was just icing on the cake.