Greatness, Manitoba is anything but great, and most people would like to escape it, Gabriel Pegg included. Well, he did escape it once, never wanting to return, but one brief, illicit affair sent him right back and restrictive legalities are keeping him from escaping again.
“I did grow up here. I try hard not to remember that, and I’m usually quite successful.”
Meet the “Port-O-Potty Guy”
You may be wondering what that port-o-potty is doing on the cover of this book. You see, back in the ’90’s Gabriel Pegg hooked up with a comedy troupe that was passing through Greatness, where he was living at the time. He had created a character who performed from inside of a port-o-potty onstage. Hence, he was forever labelled as the “Port-O-Potty Guy”. The troupe became successful in the U.S. and Gabriel was living the life until he had an intoxicated one-night stand with a big producer’s wife and he went from A-list to Q-list pretty fast, eventually declaring bankruptcy. He is allowed to return to Canada (he was facing some charges in the U.S.) under the condition that he return to Greatness and play father for one hour per day with a pre-teen daughter he has never met. Did I mention that Gabriel is divorced and his ex practically runs the town of Greatness? While in confinement to Greatness, Gabriel wants to make a serious documentary of his life. He manages to enroll his nephew to film it (armed with a GoPro camera) and tries to get some of the locals to act in it, with priceless results.
There is so much more to the story than what I have summarized above. To tell more would be to reveal too much, spoiling some of the comical twists and turns the narrative takes. It’s hard to feel sorry for Gabriel, he has made his own bed, so to speak, in a number of ways. He is self-centered and full of self-pity. Yet, his childhood was not a good one, nor was his marriage. Eventually, the various inhabitants of Greatness help Gabriel to see that Greatness may not be great, but it’s not always about where you live and having fame and fortune that matters.
Bottom line, this is a humorous and lively novel. If you like the Corner Gas/Schitt’s Creek type of humour, then No Escape From Greatness will definitely appeal to you.