Uneven pacing prevents Vernon Bargainer’s It Is Morning from fully soaring with its tale of lost love and guilt.
What love changed you forever? What is something from your past that continues to haunt you to this day? For Andy Boone, the protagonist of Vernon Bargainer’s It Is Morning, the memory of an old childhood sweetheart and the hurt he unwittingly caused her are the driving forces that compel him to reexamine his current lot in life.
It is clearly the author’s intention to showcase how an unfulfilled love can follow a person all his life and leave him feeling incomplete. Mr. Bargainer sets up the initial conflict in a powerful way by having the force of a half-forgotten memory literally drive his hero off the road. Andy Boone then sets out on an obsessive search for Lorrie Dean LeMay, a girl he once loved, but his efforts always seem to be stymied. There is a mystery surrounding Lorrie Dean and how she and her family have seemingly disappeared off the face of the earth. Of course, the mystery is eventually revealed for what it truly is and Andy does get his happily ever after with the love of his life in the end. However, the journey to get to that point is what keeps this love story from being the grand epic it could have been.
The pacing often stops and starts as new characters and plot points are introduced which, if examined carefully, can actually be dropped without harming the narrative. Andy’s issues with his workmates, for instance, take up a lot of time but have an unsatisfying resolution. Meanwhile, his friendship with a group of idiosyncratic characters who jokingly call themselves the Singles Club has its charming points, but the lessons he learns from his interactions with them come off as clunky and contrived. Finally, the revelation of Lorrie Dean’s whereabouts and ultimate fate are telegraphed so clearly that the scene does not have quite the emotional weight it should have.
Ultimately, the book is a character study of a man who is learning to come to terms with the fact that his seemingly perfect life is not so perfect after all. Andy Boone is a believable protagonist with engaging flaws, but these are eventually put to the side once the story starts setting up its finale where everything falls into place a little too smoothly. Still, It Is Morning by Vernon Bargainer is a worthwhile read if you are looking for something sentimental and optimistic.