Written By: Matt Cain
Published By: Kensington Books
Reviewed By: Melissa Minners
A friend of mine sent The Secret Life of Albert Entwistle to me, knowing just how much I like new and interesting reads. She hasn’t yet sent me something I didn’t thoroughly enjoy, so I couldn’t wait to start reading this one. Once I started, I couldn’t put the book down.
Albert Entwistle is a postman for the Royal Mail. As he approaches his sixty-fifth birthday, he receives notice of his forced retirement. A single man, living in the house his long-dead parents left him, Albert isn’t quite sure what he will do with himself once he retires. The Royal Mail is all he knows. He leads a solitary life with no one really close to him except his cat Gracie. Without mail deliveries filling up his days, Albert fears the future.
As he looks back on his life, he realizes he has fallen into a bit of a routine, never veering from his set schedule. He begins looking around his house and decides changes are in order, especially after he finds a box of old letters reminding him of a love he once shared. When tragedy befalls Albert in the loss of his only companion, he decides it is time to seek out his one time love. This will mean coming out of the shell he has build around him, letting them know the true Albert Entwistle…the one who once loved a boy named George.
As he embarks on his journey to find George, Albert begins telling people his tale, getting closer to a neighbor who is also trying to find herself while wondering if she is seeing too much in the relationship she is currently in. Albert finds that he enjoys having friends who he can get advice on and for whom he can give a bit of himself. In the process, Albert discovers that he was never truly alone, that he is surrounded by a community of coworkers and friends along his mail route who really care about him. There is no doubt that Albert is a changed man, but one question remains: if Albert finds George, will he want him, or will events from the past prevent the two from ever being together?
Author Matt Cain is an amazing writer, so descriptive that the imaginative reader can picture everything, from Albert’s route, his home, his office and even Albert himself, in their mind’s eye. Cain manages to make this solitary curmudgeon find a way into the reader’s heart early on. You will find yourself laughing and crying with Albert’s ups and downs, And yes, I was crying real tears during the tragic turn that pushes Albert to find George. I could relate to what the character was going through and I was deep into the Kleenex by the time that chapter was completed, heart-wrenching experience as it was.
One thing is for sure, the reader will definitely find themselves rooting for Albert all along his journey, saying things to themselves like, “go talk to her” or “stop hiding, Albert. Let someone in!” As the journey moves forward, despite all the ups and downs, you will find yourself smiling as Albert does just that. You will be on the same rollercoaster ride he is on, experiencing the extreme highs and lows of his journey as if it is your own. At some point, though you hope he finds George, you will be proud of how far Albert has come in the past couple-hundred pages you have read.
I loved this book so much, I was loathe to put it down to eat or sleep. My only criticism of the tale is that I felt the author was too optimistic regarding the way people treat homosexuals in life. It seemed that everyone Albert came out to treated him with the utmost respect and happiness. The real world is not as rosy colored, but one could wish for it to become that way. The Secret Life of Albert Entwistle is enough to give one hope for that in the future. It’s a terrific journey you don’t want to miss! I truly hope someone decides to make a movie out of this book. I’ll be first on line to see it!