Reviewed by Anastasia Olashaya-Grill
Print: 238 pages
Publisher: Rebel ePublishers
Available for $12.11 in print or $6.99 in Amazon Kindle format
Jack Joseph: Pool boy by day, and alcoholic, druggie, Casanova/Don Juan during… Well, 24/7, really.
A man who is constantly caught in cyclical logic and indecision, Jack finds himself forever at a crossroads and making the wrong choices. His marriage? Ending. Physicist studies? Half-completed. Love life? Questionable but full of sexual conquests both new and old. Acknowledgment of uncontrolled alcohol and drug use? Vacillating blame: self and the drugs themselves with their odious withdrawals.
How and why never matters—only the assertion that life is fleeting and should be enjoyed whenever possible because human beings truly are just feckless animals—and that the indisputable fact that these experiences occurred at all.
With a life in shambles by his own hands, Jack finds himself with two inevitabilities. One: He has fallen madly in love, perhaps for the first time ever. No lust, no primal urge; just the metaphysical warm and fuzzies. Two: A second strike DUI that will force him to be clean while time is served—an oxymoronic moment of one man’s prison can also be his gateway to freedom and endless possibilities.
As novels go, The Pool Boy’s Beatitude is one that toes the line of propriety, of the commonplace; it is a story of the everyman, down-on-his-luck schmuck who has a mind racing with quandaries of both his pants and the universe, where answers come from a bottle (shaken or stirred, knocked back either way), and everything possesses a scummy patina regardless of how wholesome it could be, should be, or might appear to be. Everything is endless, reoccurring, restated, broken apart, reformed, remade, retried, retested, and reconsidered, again and again.
While Jack’s journey is a unique one, it is not one to be called blessed or an eight-fold path to serenity. It is one of flow broken by barriers stronger, tighter, firmer, and more inflexible than he can squeeze through save on the molecular level. In the end, the unstoppable force met several immovable objects all at once and then—and only then—ceased Jack’s downward plummeting momentum.
Or perhaps the single point of absolute change without recourse is the whole point and the crux on which the story does not turn…but ends. A nucleus of a new, and perhaps better, being.
When diving into this pool boy’s thoughts, keep your own thoughts quiet and your mind clear. In that way, the words can wash over you until the very end.
DJ Swykert is a fiction writer with five books: Alpha Wolves, The Pool Boy’s Beatitude, Children of the Enemy, The Death of Anyone, and Maggie Elizabeth Harrington. His work has appeared in Monarch Review, The Tampa Review, Lunch Ticket, and Gravel.