The World of Pondside, Mary Helen Stefaniak

The World of Pondside
: Mary Helen Stefaniak
Genre : Msytery
Pages : 368
Publisher : Blackstone Publishing

With help from Pondside Manor’s quirky, twentysomething kitchen worker Foster Kresowik, wheelchair-bound resident Robert Kallman creates The World of Pondside, a video game that delights the nursing home’s residents by allowing them to virtually relive blissful moments from days long past—or even create new ones.

One-legged Duane Lotspeich is overjoyed when he can dance the tango again. Octogenarian Laverne Slatchek cheers on her favorite baseball team from the stands at Candlestick Park with her beloved husband—who died years ago. Even the overwhelmed Pondside administrator escapes her job by logging into a much more luxurious virtual world.

Robert’s game enlivens the halls of Pondside Manor, but chaos ensues when he is found dead, submerged in the pond, still strapped into his wheelchair. If any resident witnessed his death, they’re not telling—either covering up or, quite possibly, forgetting. And it’s far from clear to anyone—including the police—if the death of this brilliant man, who suffered from ALS, was suicide or murder.

When Robert’s video game goes dark, its players grow desperate. The task of getting it back online falls to young Foster, who enlists help from a raucous group of residents and staff. Their pursuit—virtual and real—has unintended consequences, uncovering both criminal activities and the dying wishes of Foster’s friend Robert. From Pondside Manor, this unlikely bunch of gamers embarks upon an astonishing journey—blissful, treacherous, and unforgettable.

The world of Pondside is a book set in a retirement home, but not just ANY retirement home! In this one, a resident is found dead in the pond. What’s more, he is the creator of a mysterious game, The World of Pondside, in which other residents can recreate their own world and avatar as they see fit. Foster, one of the carers close to Robert, the deceased man, takes on the task to figure out how he can use the game to understand what happened to Robert. On the way, he discovers much more !

The cast was pretty funny, all the residents and staff have very distinct personalities, and they oddly fit together in this environment. Obviously, one of my favorite thing was how none of the residents was described in a pitiful way. They’re all whole persons, with personalities, and are not limited to simply being old. That was refreshing, as it’s not all that often the case.

I also enjoyed the concept of having old people playing a sim video games, but to be honest, I expected more game stuff than there actually is in the story. Sure, it’s a central point, but I thought it wuold be the majority of the setting, which was not the case.

I liked following everyone’s stories, and seeing everything come together at the end, but I must admit I’m not entirely sure I understood the reason Robert died, why he was in trouble and how some characters were linked to it. It was still a cool read, with an interesting and original setting, with fantastic characters !

That’s it for today! Thanks for reading me!
See you soon,
Jade ❤

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