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The title—inspired by the game show Wheel of Fortune—is the one English phrase that Alfredo Santayana, an illegal immigrant from Guatemala, knows. He's hiding in an abandoned house just outside of Waxahachie, Texas, and, as the story begins, the innocent Alfredo is about to become a suspect in an investigation of satanic practices. Little Eva Galt, a minister's kid, spies on him and then befriends him. Meanwhile, another preacher's kid, Kenlow, begins drawing pentagrams around the countryside and leaving whatever fresh meat he can find—beef liver, Vienna sausage—as evidence of ritual sacrifice. The sheriff would just as soon laugh the matter off, but then Eva finds a skeleton, suggesting what may be a real case of satanic sacrifice. The local media get hold of it. An evangelical preacher embraces the issue. Someone claims to have seen the Virgin Mary reflected on the surface of a post office stamp machine; the stamp machine is stolen. And, in still another skewed expression of religious fervor, a painter reproduces drawings from the Sistine Chapel on the ceiling of the local food mart. It truly seems as though some kind of wacky conspiracy is at work, but then Eva spots Kenlow at his mischief, clearing up much of the mystery. Alfredo even becomes a hero, and, green card in hand, gets a job scooping up smashed armadillos from the highway. Welter goes for laughs, and often gets them—his kids here, in particular, are charming, as they speculate upon the utility of prayer or troll for catfish at the local sewage lagoon. On the other hand, Welter uses such a broad brush that he's never truly satirical, and his quintessential small town is both too idealized and dumbed-down to be believable.
A Tom Bodett wannabe.
Posted August 18, 2003
I only gave this four stars because I had to save five stars for 'The Night of the Avenging Blowfish'. Where is he and what is he doing? I need more Welter! 'Begin to Exit Here' is also wonderful'. A great pleasure!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted August 5, 2000
This book went so fast, I had to force myself to put it down so I could savor it. The payoff at the end was really worth it though. Welter takes a scathing and witty look at intolerance, small-town smallmindedness, childhood innocence, religious zealoutry and hypocricy, and wraps it all up into a somehow cohesive and thoughtful work of art. I hate falling for an author who has written so few books. Keep them coming, John!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted March 2, 2000
John Welter writes some of the wittiest dialogue you'll ever read. I Want To Buy A Vowell is the best of his three books. All of his works are quick reads, great for travel. I am anxiousily waiting for his next.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.