Rick Tompkins, a suburban Toronto insurance broker, never considered a career in politics until a good friend, who happens to be the leader of the Conservative party, asks him to run for office. He accepts the offer, with the understanding that he would probably not win, but can use the opportunity to gain some visibility for himself and his business. Jerry Switzer, a veteran party worker, is sent in to guide Rick through a campaign in a riding that hasn’t elected a Conservative in years. Rick fumbles his way through the election campaign and manages a surprise win but at the expense of saddling his party with an impossible commitment. What makes matters worse, Rick is anything but politically correct. He offends everyone in his path and stumbles from one political scandal to another. Still, Rick has one saving asset: a political party machine that is able to spin scandals to its advantage.
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Reviewed By K.C. Finn for Readers’ Favorite
The Road Ahead is a work of contemporary humorous fiction penned by author Willie Handler, and falls into the political satire vein of comedy. The story centers around the haphazard insurance broker Rick Tompkins, a relatively simple man who has no political training or any concept of political correctness. When Rick is offered the chance to run for office in Toronto, he sees it as a good way to promote his business, but the political machine he winds up in has ways of turning even his most outrageous screws-up into perfect spin that whips the supporters into shape. So begins a wild journey with a useless protagonist at its heart.
In the current political age, a work like this manages to say a great deal with fiction that reflects beautifully and ironically on the modern world. Rick Tompkins is a perfect patsy who hits an accidental demographic and lands his party with the duty of representing him, which is a perfect set-up for so much of the comedy that author Willie Handler writes with flair and ease. The dialogue itself is hilarious, accompanied by cringe-worthy settings where Rick constantly puts his over-sized foot in his mouth, and the attention to detail of the process of governmental spin is not to be missed. Even though this is a comedy, Handler’s sharp prose highlights the reality behind the message when it’s appropriate to do so. Overall, The Road Ahead provides plenty of laughs for a situation that we realize we probably shouldn’t be laughing at. A brilliant book for all to read.