Ray Vs the Meaning of Life

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4.5
 
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Ray Vs the Meaning of Life
Genre/Type
Age Group
13+
Published Date
May 15, 2018
ISBN Number
978-1-989133-01-9

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? "Stewart presents readers with a dynamite coming-of-age story ... A tale spins its answer to an age-old question into an inclusive, hilarious, and thought-provoking yarn."--Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

Editor reviews

1 reviews

Fun Story
Overall rating 
 
4.5
Writing Style 
 
4.0
Plot/Story 
 
4.0
Illustrations (if applicable) 
 
N/A
Characters (if applicable) 
 
5.0
Editing/Design Quality 
 
5.0
Ray must figure out the meaning of life in order to be the beneficiary of his late grandmother’s will. At stake is the trailer park where he and his whole family live and work. In the process of finding the meaning of life, Ray begins to experience life and change the way he lives it.
The concept of this book is wonderful. A teenager must experience the world around him in order to earn a great reward. This concept intrigued me and I couldn’t wait to figure out what would happen with Ray and his family.
The story started out both sad and odd. Ray’s grandmother is killed in a freak run-in with a grizzly bear. Then in a turn of events ,that reminds me of a Simpson’s episode, a surgical team arrives in a helicopter and freezes grandma’s brain. They then place her brain in a gigantic statue of grandma. Her brain then watches over the trailer park.
At the beginning of the story Ray came off as a typical self-centered teenager. He plays video games and eats mac & cheese all day. As Ray becomes more sympathetic to those around him and realizes he had not been living life to the fullest, I really began to root for him. His support of his friend’s father and the little girl who only wanted to go swimming really brought out Ray’s good side. I thought the guru that helped Ray through with his search for meaning was, at times, a bit much. However, ensemble of characters with strong personalities, including Ray’s mom and sister Crystal, really made the story sparkle.
Although the ending seemed like a let down at first, I later thought on it and found it to have some metaphorical meaning. The beginning and ending were a little weak for me but the central theme of the story and the great characters really stood out and made this a great read.
Good Points
Interesting premise
Great Characters
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