Superior Reads

A PLACE FOR READERS AND WRITERS

RayAnne is back in Sarah Stonich’s REELING; in this second volume of RayAnne’s adventures, the show is going on the road – all the way to New Zealand.

As the host of public television’s first all-woman fishing talk show, RayAnne knows a thing or two about fishing. What she’s less knowledgeable about is relationships.

The same quirky, endearing cast of characters from FISHING! form the backdrop of REELING. RayAnne and her mother, Bernadette, bond briefly after her grandmother Dot’s death, but then they’re off on their disparate adventures – RayAnne to New Zealand to film the new season of Fishing and Bernadette to some far-flung location to mentor post-menopausal women on their Blood Tide Quests. Big Rick, RayAnne’s father, is married to his sixth wife, a born-again evangelical, and her brother is trying to resist the temptation of his wife’s gorgeous cousin who has the hots for him. Meanwhile, Hal, RayAnne’s sponsor and boyfriend is dog-sitting Rory (again). She could bring Rory to the DogGone Inn, but Rory’s not crazy about other dogs. “Like RayAnne, he can be awkward around his own species.” Cassi, her intrepid producer falls for a hobbit, and keeping in step with the craziness, RayAnne’s dead grandmother, Dot, keeps showing up in the most unlikely places: her Ipad, her phone, her rear-view mirror.

RayAnne’s relationship with Hal isn’t brand new, but because she travels so much of the time, she isn’t sure yet if she can trust it. With a father who’s a serial-husband and a mother who eschews commitment but not necessarily sex, no wonder RayAnne is wary. She measures every relationship in the present by those from her past.

Stonich has a gift for revealing vulnerability in the most unlikely places. RayAnne’s first interview in New Zealand is with Ellie Mann, a tough-talking, tuna trawler captain who puts her to work throwing bait out the back of the boat. Donning a helmet with a visor to protect her from the fish frenzy that follows, RayAnne feels an unfamiliar squeamishness at reaching into a pail of live bait.

“She never used to be squeamish about such things; it’s just that since Gran, she’s become so aware of the frailness of living creatures and thinks too much about skin – such a ridiculously frail membrane between life and death.”

RayAnne wonders if Dot is coming back to teach her some important lesson, or if by keeping her on the hook, her grandmother is prevented from entering the eternal rest she so deserves. Moving on, Dot tells her, is a choice. Stonich casts these words casually out on the page, but they’re layered with meaning.

Lucky for us, there will be one more book in the Fishing Trilogy. As I closed REELING with the sadness you feel when saying goodbye to a friend, even if only temporarily, I held onto Gran’s closing words:

“It’s not the end of the world, Bean. You think you’ve come to the end, but all you need to do is turn the corner and there, waiting, is the next perfect thing.”

I’ll be waiting expectantly for RayAnne’s next adventure.

This is Lin Salisbury with Superior Reviews. Listen to my author interviews the fourth Thursday of the month at 7:00 pm on WTIP radio 90.7 Grand Marais, or on the web at wtip.org.

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