Review: Evacuation Plan

Posted on October 20, 2012

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Evacuation Plan
By Joe M. O’Connell
Sisterhood Publications
September 2012
192 pages

Does how you live your life reveal how you will deal with your death? If life is for the living and death is for the dying, then somewhere in between must be hospice.

Aspiring screenwriter Matt volunteers at a local hospice facility in search of a good story for his screenplay. What he discovers is that the stories of peoples’ lives, like memories drifting in the ether, haunt the halls and rooms like the music from the violinist who plays for the residents.

While the architect Mr. Wright and his family’s story is the focal point of Matt’s attention, the reader also peers almost voyeuristically into the past lives of everyone he encounters. There’s the guy in the hall who screwed up his life so miserably all he has left to look forward to his taking over his dying mother’s house. The mortician who lost everything before he even knew what he had. The male nurse who watched his sister die from a broken heart. O’Connell weaves the characters’ stories together to create an intimate mosaic that reveals how we are all connected by the mysteries of life and death.

In Matt’s dream the banjo player jokes, “Know the difference between death and an electric eel? People aren’t afraid to talk about electric eels.” In Evacuation Plan, death is as much a character as it is a resident at the hospice. But this book is no funereal dirge. Instead, O’Connell has employed masterful storytelling skills to compose an achingly captivating symphony from all these life stories that will change the way you view your own life – and death. ~ Copyright (c) 2012 by Peggy Tibbetts

Advice from a Caterpillar Featured Author — Joe O’Connell

Joe O’Connell’s articles and essays have appeared in Texas Monthly, Austin American-Statesman, The Dallas Morning News, Austin Chronicle, San Antonio Express-News, and Variety. His novel Evacuation Plan is about life in a residential hospice. His photographs have appeared recently in TexasMonthly.com, San Antonio Express-News, and The Dallas Morning News. In his spare time, Joe also teaches writing to graduate students at St. Edward’s University and undergrads at Austin Community College.

Visit Joe O’Connell’s blog

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