Author: Michael F. Stewart
Narrator: Kevin Clay
Length: 7 hours and 47 minutes
Publisher: Michael F. Stewart
Released: Aug. 17, 2018
Genre: Humor; YA
Grandma’s last will and testament names Ray to inherit the trailer park. It’s a million-dollar estate with one hitch: To prove he’s not as aimless as he seems, Ray must discover the meaning of life by the end of the month. (She left the answer in an envelope.) If he fails, the camp goes to his estranged family.
How does anyone find the meaning of life while running a park full of misfit miners, would-be truck racers, and one demanding little girl? There’s a bear, too. A grizzly. Maybe that’ll help?
Michael F. Stewart embraces all forms of storytelling. In 2009, he created Bully For You for Scholastic, a fully functioning social media platform with an embedded interactive story. He’s written graphic novels for Rubicon Publishing’s Boldprint series, illustrated early readers and novellas for Pearson (coming in 2019!), non fiction texts on Corruption and Children’s Rights; he even tried to convince the world that we needed a location based storytelling app with augmented reality (NARR8R)—we still do!
He’s written adult horror, sci-fi, urban fantasy, and adventure. He’s even written books you’ll never find.
But nothing is ever wasted. His most recent book, Counting Wolves, a contemporary YA, was named to Kirkus Reviews “Best Books of 2017” list. The Boy Who Swallows Flies (2018) won Killer Nashville’s Claymore Award, and the Assured Destruction Series won The Creation of Stories: Best YA Award at the Toronto International Book Fair. In 2016, Michael was selected to join the CFC/Entertainment One TV Adaptation Lab. Stay tuned for more soon.
Herder of four daughters, Michael lives to write in Ottawa where he was the Ottawa Public Library’s Writer in Residence and runs free writing workshops.
I love telling a good story! I enjoy using different voices to really bring the characters to life. It’s a lot trickier than I originally thought it would be. That’s why besides spending thousands of hours recording books to improve I’ve also taken training with some of the best narrators in the business such as Patrick Fraley and Scott Brick. I take telling your story seriously (with a serious dose of fun, of course) and try to do whatever is necessary to make sure people want to hear the story you have to tell. So, let’s tell it together!
Stewart’s story is one that I would definitely call introspective. Ray seems to just be this weird and quirky character who is going through a rough time. His family is not all that helpful either. In fact I often got mad at the way they treated him. Ray also seems a bit depressed, although I admire the humor he’s able to find in these tough situations. This is definitely a story that you have to give some time to get into. The first bit is pretty sad, but it evolves over time to something more hopeful. I really like Ray and he made me laugh and cry a bunch during the story. I give it a 5/5 stars.
The narration by Clay was great as well! He does all these weird voices that make me laugh at times. I also think he did a great job with putting emotion in where it’s needed. I would definitely listen to him as a narrator of another work in the future. Studio production seems great as well. So I’m giving the audio a 5/5 stars.
I received this audiobook as part of my participation in a blog tour with Audiobookworm Promotions. The tour is being sponsored by Michael F. Stewart. The gifting of this audiobook did not affect my opinion of it.
Michael F. Stewart’s Dream Cast for Ray Vs the Meaning of Life
You do know that people are hired and paid a lot of money to cast television shows, right? It’s not easy to get it right. So … Phew. Alright. Who would I put in the Ray show? First off, it would likely be a movie, not a TV show. There’s no real story engine beyond the premise. Did I mention that I’ve already written the film script? Yup!
Now for casting:
Ray: Dakota Goyo — I’m going local. He’s from my hometown of Toronto and the more Canadian elements I can add, the better the chance of getting Canadian Media Fund funding–not that I’ve thought about this AT ALL. 😉 Did I mention I’d like Jim Donovan to direct? He’s also a Toronto dude. Brilliant director of many TV show episodes you’ve watched. In any case, Dakota would scruff up well for the start and clean up well for the ending. Keeping it Canadian I might go Finn Wolfhard if Dakota wasn’t available. (He’ll be old enough by the time we shoot!)
Tina: This was the toughest. Her father’s a devout Sikh, so it only makes sense that she be of Punjabi background. I have quite a few ideas but they’re all too old … In this case, let’s give a relative unknown a role. Okay?
Mother: Keeping it Canadian — Neve Campbell. I know, I know, she’s beautiful, but I can also see her being vicious and biting. And besides, Crystal was a teen pregnancy so the ages actually match up. I stand by the call!
Crystal: Georgie Henley — If you saw her in Perfect Sisters, you’d know why. She’s terrifying.
Sure there’s a lot of missing profiles here but this is the star studded lot of them. Let’s face it, this isn’t going to have big budget, let’s not box ourselves in here!
Let’s meet Ray. Raymond Saintbury, 17 years old, 6 feet tall, caucasian, no religious affiliation, sandy brown hair, gangly, and soon to be pot-bellied once he stops growing. Cute? Maybe, but we’re going to have to give this kid a makeover.
While living in an RV park, he binge watches Brooklyn 99 and is addicted to gaming. Favorite game, likely Overwatch. At any one time, he has a couple dozen people watching him play. Ray’s not a very motivated kid. He does what is necessary to maintain his right to exist in the park, chopping the wood for his grandma and working the grill at ‘Pulled Beef’ the local burger truck, where Tina works, the girl he’s suddenly realized he should have told he liked–long before she transformed into the woman she has become this summer.
Ray has set a goal of climbing Big Mountain. It’s a snow capped peak only a few miles beyond the swamp that surrounds the park. Maybe he’ll get to it eventually. Maybe …Besides Tina, Ray’s best friend is Deneze. He’s from the reserve and drives the garbage truck, which collects from the park. Ray doesn’t get along with his family. His sister, Crystal, resents his freedoms. His mother bullies him. His Uncle is a story unto himself; in fact, the one person that seems to believe in his potential is his grandma. Grandma dies in Chapter 1. He might have even had a hand in killing her …
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