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A Tale Told by 2 Georges
on December 30, 2007
This is a family history told by two Georges - one a ventriloquist's dummy named George and the other by a boy (who grows into a teen) named George after the dummy.
The family is in entertainment, starting with the matriarchical great grandmother, Echo, down through her son, his wife, grandaughter and then the now-living George. The wooden George belonged to the son who died in WWII, entertaining the troops with his ventriloquism until his death. He narrates part of the story. As strange as this seems, it is fitting and does not go over the top (he even makes a snide reference to the dummy in Goldman's book of the '70's which is very funny).
The story line follows the family, including George-the-living, through its history. Every generation has its conflicts, ghosts and skeletons in the closet. Therefore there is some tension from the outset. However, the tension builds and builds as the family's revelations come to light. Everyone older than George, including George the dummy, has secrets they reveal. The final secrets are brought out of the closet by the living George.
This is a terrific story following several generations in the entertainment business in England; starting in vaudeville, going through entertaining troops in WWII and all the way into television. The telling is sprinkled with humor. There is something reminiscent of "Water for Elephants" in that it is most of all a very good story in interesting settings. The revelations in every generation are startling, yet believable. The characters, including the supporting cast, are all interesting and have depth. The writing is very good as well. Highly recommended for a very good and entertaining family saga.