Man gets 'do-over' of his life
In the game of golf, a mulligan is basically a do-over. So when a man decides to chuck it all and try another career, his story is called "The Mulligan."...
In the game of golf, a mulligan is basically a do-over. So when a man decides to chuck it all and try another career, his story is called "The Mulligan."
Nathan Jorgenson's second novel is about Joe Mix, a respected dentist in Rochester, Minn., who knows something is wrong in his life.
He realizes that he was never meant to be a dentist and that he doesn't love his wife. His wife never loved him, either - she just married him for the prestige. So Joe loads up his old pickup with the things he wants and heads down the road.
Conveniently, Joe's brother is a lawyer, so Joe calls him and tells him that he's leaving and to sell it all - the practice, everything - and give it to his wife. Oh, yeah, and start divorce proceedings, too.
Joe goes down the road with his few belongings and heads to his hometown in South Dakota. He meets up with his late father's friend and learns some insights about his dad, known as the Old Cowboy. Joe also learns a few things about himself, dubbed by his father as the Kadoka Kid - hardly a nickname for a dentist.
Joe picks up a puppy for companionship, tries working as a ranch hand in Montana, and finds out that being a cowboy is a lot of back-breaking work. He's hired at the right ranch, however, since the other men there are willing to give him a mulligan now and then.
It's been years since Joe has been on a horse, and that was a riding stable nag. Before that, it was a rocking horse and his imagination. The horse at the ranch promptly ejects the greenhorn, but Joe persists and is rewarded by the ride of a lifetime.
Jorgenson's description of Joe's first ride on the ranch horse is so exhilarating that readers will be just as breathless. Joe has found the Kadoka Kid again. He stays on the ranch long enough to know that there's something else out there - he just has to find it.
Down the road apiece, he finds a small resort town and a sign in a window, "Guide wanted, apply inside." Of the two loves in his life, Joe counts golf and fishing. He passes the resort owner's test of a fishing guide, and is hired on the spot.
Whether it's nuns or know-it-alls, Joe knows what strategies will ensure his customers get a great fishing experience at the resort. And just when it looks like Joe has found his niche in life, things go wrong. But isn't that how life works?
"The Mulligan" reads as well as Jorgenson's first book, "Waiting for White Horses," another story about a dentist and his best friend. Oh, yeah, Jorgenson graduated from dental school, too. Is "The Mulligan" a poignant autobiography or a well-told "what-if" story?
Readers can reach Forum reviewer Gail Gabrielson at (701) 241-5565 Man gets 'do-over' of his life By Gail Gabrielson 20071006