Normally I don’t recommend that a reader go through the About This Author page or Note to the Reader page in a book, but for this one I do. I say this because as I read Weed Therapy, it seemed like two very different stories woven together to make one novel.
Kelvin Rockwell is unhappy in his marriage, in his job, and with his life. A stranger in a bar tells him about a priest in a tiny town in Baja California, and how the stranger’s visit there changed his life. Kelvin leaves his family and visits this poor village to get some answers and some advice.
The first thing I would have you understand is that Mr. Paxson has a wonderful writing style, a great way of putting words together to paint a picture or convey a feeling in a story. The narrative about visiting the village, learning how these simple people find their happiness, and the conversations with the old priest remind me of Hermann Hesse’s writing. There’s something mystical and spiritual about the experience, and I wanted to soak in the aura as long as possible.
The other aspect of the novel is Rockwell in first person telling the reader how his marriage has gone south, how his wife doesn’t express her love for him the way he wants, and how his kids have drifted from him. I went through a divorce and custody proceedings more than a decade ago, so when I read these sections of Rockwell complaining and blaming his wife, I wanted someone to shake him out of it and see the other side of the issue. But I realize that is my perspective, and that re-marrying as an older, hopefully wiser person has changed the way I look at relationships.
Ironically, the old Mexican priest’s words are spot-on for Rockwell, despite his protestations and complaining, and the reader can go a couple of different ways with this story. You can feel the pain Rockwell is experiencing, and sympathize with his thinking. Or you can view his narrative as flawed and myopic, and sympathize more with his wife.
Either way this is a good read, and makes me want to get a copy of Paxson’s other novel, One Night in Bridgeport.