Finished August 28
The Bob Watson by Greg Bardsley
This novel features a man, Rick Blanco, who works at a desk job for a large corporation in California. Rick has been lusting after his nephew's nanny, Audrey, for years, and when she suddenly agrees to go out with him if he meets some requirements in regard to his nephew, he can't believe the chance and will do anything to make it happen. Part of the impetus for this is Collin's family's imminent move to another country for his father's work.
Rick and his sister Ana are not that close, and we only gradually learn why as the book unfolds. But he has taken time for his nephew Collin, doing things with him that are fun, whimsical, and not necessarily related to his future prospects. He genuinely cares about Collin and wants to spend time with him when he can. He also has sincere doubts about his own abilities to do the right thing, to not screw up, and this is another thing we gradually learn the roots of as the book unfolds.
Early in his career, Rick observed another man at his company, who has since moved on, as he found a way to get out of unproductive meetings without people noticing. Rick paid attention to what he did and found his own ways of doing similar things. He calls these activities "the Bob Watson" after the man he initially observed.
When Rick first receives the communication from Audrey, he is in one of these unproductive meetings, and he pulls a Bob Watson move to get out of it and uses a previous contact to find something cool to do with Collin. But as he does so, he finds that the people he encounters think he is Dick Rayborne, the HR director for his company, and a man who has done many things that have not been good for the employees. As they take Rick on a wild spree around town, through people's homes, luxury hotels, and the company's executive offices, Rick learns about Dick's actions and about his own abilities to make a real difference in the world, something that will offer his nephew an experience that he will never forget.
One of the lines from the book that is significant: "We're never gonna survive unless we get a little crazy."
I was initially a little confused by the book, but as I read further and began to sense the history behind Rick's issues, I began to really enjoy it. This is a book that offers hope against the world as it is now, that looks out for the people who can't look out for themselves. A great read.