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With this reprise to The End of the Road (1989), various skits and sketches concerning the denizens of a small Mayberry-like Alaskan town, Bodett, best known for his lucrative gig as the Motel-6 spokesman, makes a fair bid to become the Garrison Keillor of oil-spill country. ""The End of the Road. . .gets more than its fair share of novel individual,"" Bodett says, and then sets out to prove it with a cast of off-the-wall comic types, mostly idiosyncratic buffoons we're supposed to smile at affectionately. His theme this time is love: Argus Winslow, known as the ""junkyard tycoon,"" suffers from memory lapses but carries on a booklong romance with Ruby McClay of Ruby's Video Roundup when his girlfriend ""left the state and died."" Late in the book Ruby accepts his befuddled proposal. Elsewhere, vegetarian activist Tamara Dupree--whose first love, a military heart-surgeon, turns into a downer--teams up with Tony Tobias, a sort of holistic physician. The ""displaced bureaucrat"" Emmitt Frank--for whom ""the terms happy and camper had never occurred in the same sentence""--finally finds Matty, a 40-year-old single mother. But for Ed Flanagan, things get reversed: wife Emily leaves him for ""a week-long personal-insight seminar,"" forcing Ed to care for a brood of kids; and then she goes to work on the oil-spill cleanup, a situation Ed at first resents but later comes to accept. Thirteen-year-old Norman grows up: he deals with a bully, then falls in love with Laura, whose babysitting lessons begin to cause a problem for him. Finally, Doug McDoogan, who finished The End of the Road as a successful woodcarver, discovered by high society, continues to carve driftwood--and to prevaricate as he realizes that no longer can he simply move up and away when his lies are found out. A pleasant, inoffensive collection--full of the good will and optimism of Bodett's commercials.

Pub Date: Oct. 17th, 1990
Publisher: Morrow