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Scott Bahlmann
Shirley Bahlmann is the co-author of the novel "Faith, Hope and Gravity" with musician Merrill Osmond .

"FAITH, HOPE & GRAVITY," by Merrill Osmond and Shirley Bahlmann, $15.99, 283 pages (f)

Merrill Osmond's "Faith, Hope and Gravity" is a kind of "Alice in Wonderland" adventure, a mix of story and pithy bits of philosophy that makes for a kind of surrealistic read.

It starts out as kind of an inviting, unusual, story about the bullies and the bullied who can't forgive and move on.

But it quickly becomes a mish-mash of strange happenings, adventures and lessons to be learned.

There's plenty of story. It's just all mixed up with a thin story about a boy named Liam who is hurt in a cruel prank. He harbors his anger against those who hurt him and uses it to separate himself from the real world.

At the same time, he has a gift for reading the future that both helps him and keeps others from trusting him.

As he finally heads into the outside world, away from his family in Hawaii, he starts to confront some of his fears. He helps strangers, but he trusts no one.

Along the way, there are all kinds of side trips into other countries, other worlds, other realities, each one with a message for him and for the reading audience, messages that apparently were passed on to Merrill Osmond from his mother.

Perhaps this book should have been named "Osmond Advice for Mankind" or "Sound Bites for the Road."

It really becomes confusing and difficult to follow as Liam goes to England and to France and to Italy and to Iceland and … you get the picture.

Somehow money doesn't seem to be a restrictive factor until near the end when his mother becomes ill.

Passports? Security? Taking a little dog along but never having any trouble with luggage pickup or lodging accommodations?

There are a lot of holes in the logic in this book and some giant leaps that have to be made to make the story work, but even with that, it could be a good story.

It just needs a lot of editing and work.

On the plus side, there's nothing offensive or anything that goes against family values.

As it is, it's an exercise in persistence just to get through it.

Sharon Haddock is a professional writer with 35 years experience, 17 at the Deseret News. Her personal blog is at sharonhaddock.blogspot.com.

Email: haddoc@desnews.com