I was alerted to Billy Coffey by a tweet from Karen Spears Zacharias earlier this year. He's a blogger who has a day job and lives in Virginia, and has just published his first book, Snow Day. After reading several of his blog posts, I was intrigued by the book and had meant to purchase it. As it turns out, I won a free copy in a promotion by the publisher. I am under no obligation to give any review, positive or negative, about Snow Day.
Having said that, I'm recommending Snow Day very highly. This is a story about a man named Peter whose circumstances are similar to that of Mr Coffey (mid-30's, wife and two kids, one with diabetes, factory job), with some differences. In particular, Peter is facing a very tough situation: an impending layoff in a small town with little in the way of alternatives for him if he should lose his job.
Snow Day takes place in one day: a winter day in which the protagonist decides to take a day off. He spends the day running errands at the store, meeting interesting people, watching local kids sledding, and thinking about people and life in this small town. The gray cloud looming over all these thoughts and encounters is the sobering prospect of joblessness.
There's not a lot of plot to get in the way of the story, and that's a good thing in this case. It's a simple account of one man's thoughts and attempts to keep his chin up as he faces not being able to provide for his family. Along the way, he meets several characters, and learns a lesson from each one. My favorite is chapter 4, where Peter mocks an imperfect toy Santa, only to learn that this world is full of imperfect people, each of whom has value.
If you're up for a nice story which teaches some things without being preachy, and which is hopeful in the midst of hopelessness, I recommend Snow Day.