Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page 49.
- Review Date: 2007-06-11
- Reviewer: Staff
MacDonald is just a regular, sharp-witted guy on a quest for “funtential,” his coined word for the maximum potential for fun. In a casual, playful tone, his account begins as he stares past his computer screen and at the brick wall of his girlfriend’s apartment in Quebec; he lives there, and she pays the rent. Wanting to contribute financially to the relationship, he recalls a childhood game, Bigger and Better, and begins looking for something to trade. He’s drawn to the red paperclip holding together his résumé and cover letter. The rest of the book traces his exchanges from the red paperclip to a fish pen to a smiley-face door knob and culminates with a house in Kipling, Saskatchewan—all within a year. From the outset, MacDonald insists on making each deal in person, and these personal exchanges provide the book with a human interest that transcends any fascination with quirky material swaps. Trading a door knob for Shawn’s camping stove, for example, becomes an excuse for the once strangers to chat over steak sandwiches and beer. So, while the trades are the unifying element of the book, it isn’t really about getting a house; it’s about people, relationships and living life to its fullest. (Aug.)