2 out of 4 stars
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Randy Love: At Your Service by Shay Carter is a book with a great deal of heart and individuality to accompany the shameless shenanigans packed for the trip.
Each chapter uncovers part of a coming-of-age story for a young man named Randy as he navigates life, love, and the road of self-reliance while learning from his mistakes. Even if his mistakes take awhile to sink in.
Randy Love: At Your Service takes place in the English household that Randy first grew up. Randy’s mother and father were very close and planned everything together, including their children. Randy was the third (and first to be unplanned) child for the Love family. Marjorie and John worked as much as they could while trying to keep up with their youngest boy. Marjorie finds herself out of the picture early on, leaving most of Randy’s childhood years to be brought up by a tired single father.
Randy relies mostly on his boyish charm and adept social skills for strength. Both come in handy for the times he turns into his own worst enemy. Randy lets his self doubt fuel his decision making when dealing with authority figures. Just as soon as Randy begins to connect with co-workers, bosses, or even fellow occupants at his residence, he sabotages his positive image and chooses a shortcut past anyone or anything holding him back. Occasionally this happens out of coincidence, but the reader might also get a kick out of the moments where Randy upholds his contempt for someone from the very beginning. Randy isn’t beyond causing a little humiliation. No one could say that Shay Carter doesn’t add a great deal of color and energy to some characters in this book. He gave the main character a sharp bit of personality, which I appreciated for the most part.
What I liked most about Randy Love: At Your Service is how the organization of the novel is easy to follow. From the beginning of Randy’s young adult life, we go right into the next few years of him trying to find more and more freedom, in a bustling world of business and responsibility. The number of times Randy and his friends can screw up is expected, which is entertaining enough to be a pleasure after the book finds our characters headed on the right path.
What I liked least about reading this book comes from how lusterless the book seems when the main character controls too much of the plot. Randy’s hindsight is the key behind the movement and character development for much of the book. Throughout, you see the thrill of barhopping, the upgrades in living space, and an extensive queue of ladies that Randy keeps an eye on. As life changes for Randy, the person Randy becomes is often based on the seriousness of his mistakes, and his ability to come to terms with the outcome. Randy’s friends and close family are engaged with as the book goes on, and we see fleeting glimpses of change in other characters. Not to an outstanding degree, however. For some, the book may feel more concise that way. To others, this shortness in character knowledge is a transparent means for Randy to have another piece of the world to compare himself to.
Overall, what Shay Carter brings to us is a rare and unapologetic book that spells out the humor all the ways Randy can overstep his boundaries. An amusing tale that can be fun for many, even if you’re just counting the times you raise your eyebrows in bewilderment (I won’t tell you what number I got to). The editing of the book was adequate and holds its own in pacing, but doesn't try too hard in term of content or variation in substance. For these points, Randy Love: At Your Service gets 2 out of 4 stars for being a good time for adult readers. Look forward to a unique imagining of young adulthood, milestone after milestone.
Randy Love...at your service
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