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Like Any Other Monday

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"After breaking up the family act in 1916, Keatonesque comedic performer Billy Pascoe retreats to Muskoka to consider his prospects as a solo performer. Instead, Pascoe discovers an unlikely partner and straightman in Lucinda Hart, one half of a disbanded song-and-dance sister act. While still wrestling to mesh their vastly different experiences of rehearsal and performanc "After breaking up the family act in 1916, Keatonesque comedic performer Billy Pascoe retreats to Muskoka to consider his prospects as a solo performer. Instead, Pascoe discovers an unlikely partner and straightman in Lucinda Hart, one half of a disbanded song-and-dance sister act. While still wrestling to mesh their vastly different experiences of rehearsal and performance, Pascoe & Hart hit the vaudeville circuit, perfecting their act, gaining each other’s trust and winning over audiences. Brennan’s portrayal of the intimate, often tenuous interactions underlying the collaborative creative process reminds us of the stage’s kinship with everyday life, where limits must be tested and risks taken in the pursuit of greater dreams." - from the publisher's website


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"After breaking up the family act in 1916, Keatonesque comedic performer Billy Pascoe retreats to Muskoka to consider his prospects as a solo performer. Instead, Pascoe discovers an unlikely partner and straightman in Lucinda Hart, one half of a disbanded song-and-dance sister act. While still wrestling to mesh their vastly different experiences of rehearsal and performanc "After breaking up the family act in 1916, Keatonesque comedic performer Billy Pascoe retreats to Muskoka to consider his prospects as a solo performer. Instead, Pascoe discovers an unlikely partner and straightman in Lucinda Hart, one half of a disbanded song-and-dance sister act. While still wrestling to mesh their vastly different experiences of rehearsal and performance, Pascoe & Hart hit the vaudeville circuit, perfecting their act, gaining each other’s trust and winning over audiences. Brennan’s portrayal of the intimate, often tenuous interactions underlying the collaborative creative process reminds us of the stage’s kinship with everyday life, where limits must be tested and risks taken in the pursuit of greater dreams." - from the publisher's website

31 review for Like Any Other Monday

  1. 5 out of 5

    James Fisher

    Like Any Other Monday (2014, Gaspereau Press) is Halifax author Binnie Brennan's first novel, and it is an impressive one. From the moment you handle the book, you know that you are in for something special. Gaspereau Press has done a beautiful job of printing and binding this softcover book. It even comes with its own embossed paper dust jacket. Even if the pages inside were totally blank, you would still have a handsome softcover to display. The Story Fortunately, the 200+ pages inside are not b Like Any Other Monday (2014, Gaspereau Press) is Halifax author Binnie Brennan's first novel, and it is an impressive one. From the moment you handle the book, you know that you are in for something special. Gaspereau Press has done a beautiful job of printing and binding this softcover book. It even comes with its own embossed paper dust jacket. Even if the pages inside were totally blank, you would still have a handsome softcover to display. The Story Fortunately, the 200+ pages inside are not blank, but filled with a wondrous, meticulously researched story set in a time period that has practically been forgotten: the American Vaudeville era. The vaudeville era arose in post-Civil War America (as well as in Canada) in the late 1880s and lasted to about 1930, when moving pictures began their rise to popularity. In the book's dedication, the author notes that on any given show night, tens of thousands of performers took to the vaudeville stages working two, three, even five or more shows a day, six days a week. Such was the case in 1916 with The Three Pascoes, a father-mother-son team. The son, Billy – like his father- is a master of slapstick comedy: pratfalls, flips, kicks and spins and being generally thrown about the stage by his father to peals of laughter from the delighted audience. However, his father's increased drinking has threatened the popular headlining act. Immediately after the last show, Billy packs up and along with his mother Myrna head to Muskoka to regroup and decide what to do about the act. While in Muskoka, Billy and his mother learn about The Hart Sisters act that has had to stop performing due to one of the sisters becoming pregnant. Billy's mother wants him to team up with Lucinda to create a new act and get back on the road. However, Lucinda is strictly a singer, and at first Billy doesn't see the potential in working with a singer, but they, along with Lucinda's sister Norma come up with a routine that they feel audiences will enjoy: Lucinda will sing (and be the 'straight man') while Billy acts the lovesick fool all around her. With Billy's mother Myrna in tow as chaperone, they go back on the road as Pascoe & Hart and refine the act to the point where they eventually become well-known across the vaudeville stages of North America. On the surface, Like Any Other Monday may appear like a love story, but it is so much deeper than that. Billy and Lucinda, while working together out of sheer necessity, have no intentions of becoming more than that. However, after months of travelling together, doing the same act multiple times per day, several days per week, a romantic relationship emerges. Each has seen the other at their most vulnerable (chapter eight, "Diving" relates a chance encounter between Billy and Lucinda while in Muskoka that is very emotionally charged) so there is more than a working friendship there. What happens next is up to the reader to discover. I promised Ms. Brennan that I would not give out any spoilers (not that I would anyway!) so that is all I will say for the story itself! I enjoyed reading every page of it and have recommended it as the August 2015 'recommended read'.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Graceann

    First, I'd like to take a moment to comment on the book as an object. Gaspereau Press has put together an objectively lovely edition for this release. The cover art is thoughtful and meaningful, and the pagestock is suitable to the time period being depicted. Just as a piece of art that I display on my shelf, I love it. But wait, there's more. Binnie Brennan takes the early life of Buster Keaton as her initial inspiration for this story, but that's a leaping-off point, not a destination. Thanks First, I'd like to take a moment to comment on the book as an object. Gaspereau Press has put together an objectively lovely edition for this release. The cover art is thoughtful and meaningful, and the pagestock is suitable to the time period being depicted. Just as a piece of art that I display on my shelf, I love it. But wait, there's more. Binnie Brennan takes the early life of Buster Keaton as her initial inspiration for this story, but that's a leaping-off point, not a destination. Thanks to Brennan's imagination and gift for language, we are treated to a wholly original tale, albeit with some familiar touchstones for those of us who adore the genius in the flat hat. "Boffo" Billy Pascoe is on his own for the moment. The linchpin of the hugely popular Three Pascoes, he has decided to break up the act due to his father's alcoholism and the impossibility of keeping the act funny (and safe) in light of it. While he decides what to do next, he's made aware of another act that has been stranded, and sees a possible path forward. We are treated to such beautifully written descriptions of the theatres and performances that it was almost possible to smell the musty dressing rooms and to visualise the performances. For the first time, I was able to understand how performers work out their timing to make things look "spontaneous," and just how laborious that process could be. I loved these characters. I loved that, peppered throughout the story are names that I've become familiar with due to loving Buster. I hasten to note that you don't need to know tiny details about Buster Keaton's life to appreciate the beauty of this story, but if you DO know them, Like Any Other Monday is liberally dotted with Easter Eggs on which to feast. If you've never even seen a Buster Keaton film, this is still a story to love on its own merits. I loved Billy, and Lucinda, and Myra, and Norma, and the various supporting players with whom they interact. I'm currently imagining what might have happened to them after the Epilogue. If I had Ms Brennan's imagination, the story would be wondrous. Read it if you love Buster. Read it if you've never heard of him. Either way, you win.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Carol

    Like Any Other Monday gave me a unique backstage look into the world of vaudeville. Inspired by the life and work of Buster Keaton, Binnie Brennan has created a compelling cast of characters who weave a story of courage, love and sacrifice. Billy and Lucinda must join forces when the break-up of their family acts leave them without work. They must find a way to merge their very different talents - Billie, a comedic performer and Lucinda, half of a song and dance sister act. As the new act of Pas Like Any Other Monday gave me a unique backstage look into the world of vaudeville. Inspired by the life and work of Buster Keaton, Binnie Brennan has created a compelling cast of characters who weave a story of courage, love and sacrifice. Billy and Lucinda must join forces when the break-up of their family acts leave them without work. They must find a way to merge their very different talents - Billie, a comedic performer and Lucinda, half of a song and dance sister act. As the new act of Pascoe and Hart evolves a strong trust begins to develop between them and in time grows into something more. Just when their hard work and creative collaboration gain them recognition Billy and Lucinda are thrown a new challenge. Brennan really knows this world and it shows in the incredible detail she weaves throughout the novel, bringing to life the creative challenges and personal sacrifice of the vaudevillian performer. I loved this novel, and it has inspired me to read more about the vaudevillian world.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Sharon

    This was a really enjoyable read. Brennan did a great job making the vaudeville acts both readable (to a person not particularly interested in the subject) and clearly visual. With her deft pen, they also enhanced the connection between the two main characters, whose charming, unusual relationship grows into an abiding love. Like Any Other Monday strikes a nice balance between life in Vaudeville and the connecting personalities of two people. Brennan's writing is spare but fine and she uses play This was a really enjoyable read. Brennan did a great job making the vaudeville acts both readable (to a person not particularly interested in the subject) and clearly visual. With her deft pen, they also enhanced the connection between the two main characters, whose charming, unusual relationship grows into an abiding love. Like Any Other Monday strikes a nice balance between life in Vaudeville and the connecting personalities of two people. Brennan's writing is spare but fine and she uses playbills, reviews and episodic snips to vary the style and give a sense of people on tour. And please don't be concerned about the 21/2 weeks it took me to read this. I had several other things calling for my attention. It is not a long and slow read at all. Binnie is a friend. I usually refrain from giving star ratings or extensive comments to books by friends.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Ian

    In Binnie Brennan's first novel Like Any Other Monday it is 1916 and young Billy Pascoe has been forced by his father's alcoholism to quit The Three Pascoes, the successful stage act he shared with his parents all through his childhood. At an actors' colony where he's gone to take stock of his career, he meets the Hart sisters, Norma and Lucinda, whose own career as a song-and-dance team has ended because of Norma's pregnancy. Overcoming their doubts and fears, Billy and Lucinda partner up to be In Binnie Brennan's first novel Like Any Other Monday it is 1916 and young Billy Pascoe has been forced by his father's alcoholism to quit The Three Pascoes, the successful stage act he shared with his parents all through his childhood. At an actors' colony where he's gone to take stock of his career, he meets the Hart sisters, Norma and Lucinda, whose own career as a song-and-dance team has ended because of Norma's pregnancy. Overcoming their doubts and fears, Billy and Lucinda partner up to become Pascoe and Hart, and with Norma's help devise a new act which they take out on the road. The bulk of the action takes place over the next three months, during which they travel from one vaudeville stage to the next, their act slowly building momentum, going from success to success until people are lining up to see them. Then the offers arrive, offers that will take them in different directions but propel their careers to new heights. The best scenes are the ones that show us the two young performers backstage and on stage, working together, calibrating their movements, refining their gestures, boosting each other's confidence, and in the process getting to know one another. Midway through their tour as Pascoe and Hart, the story of Billy and Lucinda becomes a gentle love story, though it remains intent on providing a glimpse into an important period in the history of the performing arts. In addition, the understated drama demonstrates that people in constant close contact with one another, whose fates are intimately connected moment by moment while performing in front of an audience, must learn to trust one another implicitly, or else fail. Making liberal use of details from Buster Keaton's early life story, Binnie Brennan has written a quietly impressive novel that evokes a time that most of us rarely think about.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Meghan

    If you enjoy Vaudeville, or love the era just before film stars took over the entertainment world, you will really enjoy this book. Printed on beautiful stock by Gaspereau Press, a publishing company bent (and rightly so) on preserving old methods of printing, the very feel of this book takes you back to a time when the texture of the world was more visceral and enthralling than a flatscreen. Binnie Brennan describes the feel of theatre, both onstage and in the audience, so deftly that you instan If you enjoy Vaudeville, or love the era just before film stars took over the entertainment world, you will really enjoy this book. Printed on beautiful stock by Gaspereau Press, a publishing company bent (and rightly so) on preserving old methods of printing, the very feel of this book takes you back to a time when the texture of the world was more visceral and enthralling than a flatscreen. Binnie Brennan describes the feel of theatre, both onstage and in the audience, so deftly that you instantly want to pick up the phone (like the ones in Downton Abbey) and book a night in the front row of your local stage. I highly recommend Like Any Other Monday.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Mj Amirault

    A pleasant story of life in the vaudeville business, a bit of a love story. It shows the ups and downs of living "on the road" and having to constantly be able to change to keep on top of the game. A bonus, the author lives in Halifax, Nova Scotia and the book was printed at Gaspereau Press right here in the Annapolis Valley! A pleasant story of life in the vaudeville business, a bit of a love story. It shows the ups and downs of living "on the road" and having to constantly be able to change to keep on top of the game. A bonus, the author lives in Halifax, Nova Scotia and the book was printed at Gaspereau Press right here in the Annapolis Valley!

  8. 4 out of 5

    Edward Fenner

    A delightful and warm tale of young love and their struggles (and successes) in vaudeville. This story is beautifully written and well-researched. A fascinating peek inside the the lives of two young entertainers. Very enjoyable.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Elizabeth

  10. 5 out of 5

    April Sharpe

  11. 4 out of 5

    Asd3064

  12. 5 out of 5

    Sarah Crisman

  13. 5 out of 5

    Caley Clements

  14. 4 out of 5

    Abby

  15. 4 out of 5

    Diane

  16. 4 out of 5

    Dina Litvin

  17. 4 out of 5

    Jade Colbert

  18. 5 out of 5

    David

  19. 4 out of 5

    Kathy Stinson

  20. 5 out of 5

    Tessa

  21. 4 out of 5

    Jen

  22. 5 out of 5

    Joe

  23. 5 out of 5

    Naomi

  24. 4 out of 5

    Peggy Walt

  25. 5 out of 5

    Vana

  26. 5 out of 5

    Bridget

  27. 5 out of 5

    Nina

  28. 5 out of 5

    Matt

  29. 4 out of 5

    Benjamin

  30. 4 out of 5

    Sandy

  31. 5 out of 5

    Kathleen

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