Bill Durmer is seemingly an average guy, until his business in Decent Chance, Alabama begins to suffer. As the business closes, strange things begin to happen to Bill on a trip to Walt Disney World, including strange encounters with even stranger characters. Was Bill actually meant for something greater than his television-sales-and-repair life?
Midlife Mouse, a new novel by first-time writer Wayne Franklin, takes us on the fascinating story of Bill Durmer and his strange adventures. It is part mystery, part fantasy, and a large part fun. On top of all that, it is set in the very real world of Walt Disney World, making the story even more interesting to those who have been there before.
On his trip to Walt Disney World after his electronics business closes, Bill begins to meet all sorts of strange people who seem to know quite a bit about him. Is it all just coincidence, or is there really something going on? And what is this about a prophecy they keep talking about? And all of these secret groups of people that he keeps hearing bits and pieces about? Bill finds himself getting caught up in all these unusual folks, while finding himself in parts of Walt Disney World that he never knew existed.
I would love to tell you more of the story, but part of the fun is the discovery, so I really don’t want to give any more of it away. Sort of like when a movie trailer shows you all of the best parts. Just go and read it for yourself. You will be glad you did.
One of my favorite aspects of the book is the humor found throughout the story. It starts right from the beginning, and it keeps on going from there. Wayne Franklin apparently has a sense of humor that is right in line with mine. Whether that is a good thing remains to be seen, but I thought it was hilarious at times. And yet it was also poignant, mysterious, and yes, even heart-warming at times, too. Wayne has all the bases covered here. And as with all good Southern stories, there is a good bit of Bible-belt religion found in the story, which is right up my alley, too. In short, there is something for everyone here.
The narrative is quite well done, too. The story jumps back and forth in time as Bill has flashbacks and memories of the past, all while keeping you on edge as to what will happen next. On top of that, I personally liked how Wayne wove in the very real Walt Disney World into the fantasy world of Bill Durmer, making you almost believe that this could all really happen.
Part of the charm of the book is that it takes us to somewhere we enjoy being, and it also makes us wonder if there is something more out there for all of us. In one way or another, all of us would like to be in Bill Durmer’s position. Maybe not at the beginning, or when he isn’t sure what is going on, but we are definitely envious of him by the end. And in some strange way, the book gives a sense of hope, because we are hopeful that better things are ahead for us, too.
While not giving anything away, the ending isn’t exactly a cliffhanger, but instead it is an ending filled with possibilities and questions, all good ones, of course. And if it leaves you wondering what’s next, the good news is that Wayne is already working on a sequel. I’m definitely looking forward to that.
Midlife Mouse is a great read if you like humor, Disney, mystery, or just a good story!
Full disclosure: No compensation was received for this review, aside from a preview copy of the book. Although I now feel that the book is good enough to buy.