Sunday, February 1, 2009

FSF: The Monopoly Man

I'm finishing up my January reviews with a ghost story by Barry B. Longyear. He's probably best known for the novella "Enemy Mine" which inspired the film of the same name. "The Monopoly Man" is the first story of his I've read, although I have seen the film Enemy Mine.

"The Monopoly Man" follows Cheri, a woman who is hard on her luck. She's just been mugged and expects to die of her injuries. Except, she doesn't. A well to do man, a man she dubs "the Monopoly Man" offers her his warm coat and lets her sleep in safety under his coat as they sit on a bench in Central Park. When she wakes, she finds herself at a detox center. She is offered a chance to turn her life around but under certain expectations. Cheri turns her life around and as she does she learns more about the Monopoly Man.

Who he is and how he is tied to Cheri and the rehab center is the crux of the story. In tone it's the opposite of "Rising Waters" even though both deal with death. The story is full of love, warmth and hope. Despite it's up beat tone, it avoids being as schmaltzy as The Ghost Whisperer and for that I'm grateful.

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