A review of Another Broken Wizard by Colin Dodds

Reviewed by Sheri Harper

Another Broken Wizard
by Colin Dodds
Paperback: 304 pages
August 8, 2011, ISBN-13: 978-1466213036

Colin Dodds tells a tale of a young man returning to his hometown in Worcester, Massachusetts after he lost his job. His dad needs him home while he undergoes heart surgery. On return to his hometown, he meets up with goodhearted local drug dealer Joe and a few of his friends.

The story follows the protagonist Jim Monaghan around town as he attends parties, gets drunk, and avoids dealing with his problems. Jim is a likeable guy because he keeps applying for jobs and he tries to help out his parents.

Jim’s parents are divorced because their relationship had fallen empty to the point where neither spent any time together. Jim hates the awkwardness of having to deal with them one at a time. His dad is worried about his upcoming open heart surgery to remove a mass that could be cancerous.

The plot follows two strands—one in which Jim lends his buddy Joe money to get rich enough selling drugs to get out of town, the other in which Jim meets another woman for sex because his girlfriend stayed in town and partied with her girlfriends, obviously looking for a guy with a job.

The main issues in this tale of young adulthood is that Jim doesn’t change much until the final page where we are given a rundown of how he got a job, married and moved on in life. Jim is passive, going along for a drug binge. The story proposes that everyone needs a little time to laugh with friends and have a good time. That proposition is shot down in the end.

Although Colin Dodds doesn’t glamorize a life of strangers, grunt work, and living from party to party, he doesn’t portray that the illegal sale of drugs is so bad either. He does correctly convey the judgment-impaired state of mind when intoxicated. Any woman who reads his portrayal of the weeklong drunk will itch to clean up after him. This is a true male fantasy life where the protagonist gets what he wants and all his toys that amuse him are left behind when he moves on.

The plot is slow but we get introduced to a bunch of people the protagonist doesn’t care to see again after the story and only the childhood buddy that stood up for him when he was harassed as a young man is remembered with sadness. Not a bad story, but perhaps too true to life for some.

About the reviewer: Sheri Fresonke Harper is a poet and writer. She’s been published in many small journals and is working on her second science fiction novel. See www.sfharper.com