Book Review: "The Touch of Life" by Ike Andrews
648 pages, BookSurge Publishing, 2007, ISBN-10: 1419639080
Reviewed by Bill Brownley
I read this – well, part of it - so you didn't have to, as the famous critic once said.
The book is "The Touch of Life" by Ike Andrews. This was billed as the great American Rugby Novel. I wanted to like it, I really did. It's about rugby - supposedly, the writer was a rugby player - supposedly, there would be lots of action - supposedly. So, a book about my favorite hobby by a "rugby brother" really pre-disposed me to liking it.
It was awful. Almost completely unreadable. In the interest of full disclosure, I quit reading it about halfway through. I kept waiting for it to get better and it never did. I am a little compulsive about finishing books I have started, so that should tell you how bad it was.
The characters were cutout cartoons that I could not find sympathy with (and they were rugby players!!), and there was no discernible plot. The prose was turgid and juvenile. The author knew enough about rugby to fake it to someone who had never played or watched seriously - but not to anyone who ever really played.
The daring scenes of rugby "partying" were banal, lifeless, and dreary, as were the descriptions of play.
I wanted to like this book, but I couldn't. I can't believe anyone published it. Please help to make sure no one reads this and thinks it is representative of rugby, rugby culture, or the intellect of rugby players who might write a book.