Life at the Carrisbrook Estates retirement facility is a never-ending carousel of time travel, love, adventure, and fun. In this, the follow-on to No Time for Rules, Kwasi and Sophia along with Hank and Patsy are planning a double wedding. The “bad boys”, Clem, Clive, George, and William are up to their usual antics. There are troubles brewing, new loves starting, and old loves becoming stronger and deeper.
Theme of the Book
The residents of Carrisbrook are all over the age of retirement but they are certainly not old. They are full of life, mischief, and love. Age, in Local Time, is not a state of mind. It’s simply a number and the joys of life are available to anyone ready to take them.
What I Liked About the Story
The book is less a novel than a series of amusing vignettes of life at the Carrisbrook retirement home. Novels are expected to have a plot arc with some sort of climax and solution at the end. Local Time does not follow this pattern at all. Although the author sets up situations that could lead to conflict or heightened tension, the usual outcome is a happy ending, often involving a romance. As long as readers know what to expect, the book will be an entertaining light reading experience.
One of the joys of reading Local Time is watching the development of the characters. Many of the Carrisbrook residents arrived as stereotypical old people with a lack of energy, a lack of interest in new ideas or activities, and with the typical “grumpy old man” attitude to life. Watching these people change into active, interested, and interesting individuals shows that age truly is just a number.
The author has presented a dreamland retirement situation full of luxury, activity, companionship, and humor. The stories that are told could easily have been told without the inclusion of time travel, though the end of the book does present one of the best uses of time/space travel possible. Without giving anything away, I will say that this very last mention of time travel made me wish it were real.
What I Didn’t Like About the Story
It is tempting to describe this book as a fairy tale. But it would be wrong to do so. In fairy tales, there is always a conflict or a tragedy. Even the happiest Disney movie has one scene that will make viewers cry. Local Time has none of this. There are no conflicts worthy of the name, no tragedies, nothing to move the reader away from the sense of amusement. The author has a number of opportunities to give the reader more than a daydream: there is the thief, there is the Queen of Mean, there is the diabetic lost in the forest with neither food nor medicine. There are no deaths or even serious illnesses at Carrisbrook. While the vignettes are fun and often funny, there is really no “meat” in this book.
Entertaining as the book is, it is much too long. After two hundred pages, the same banter and double entendres become less amusing and more irksome. For example, the author spends two full chapters and twenty pages describing an uneventful flight from Carrisbrook to Hank’s family’s private island, detailing each type of food and drink, every bit of banter, every seating arrangement, and one semi-humorous event. I’m sure this was quite fun to write but it became tiresome to read.
Throughout the book, much of the dialogue is repetitious, and when interesting plot points do arise, they are left hanging to wait for another few chapters of daily life to pass. Two of the least likeable characters in the story, Constance and Percy, are introduced, described, and then left aside until the very end of the book. Constance, especially, could have added much needed drama to the events.
This is a delightful book for a beach or an airplane read. It is full of life and humor with wonderful characters. It is not a book with a strong plot or with any sort of tension or conflict. Readers looking for an easy and entertaining way to pass the time could do worse than to pick up this book.