For over 20 years, Will Baggett has been the top weatherman at Channel Seven in Raleigh. His perfected role as the "Weather Wizard" allows him the perks of a local celebrity. His wife, Clarice, is a successful real estate agent. Palmer, their son, is in his first year of medical school. Top that with an Old Raleigh home with a well-manicured lawn and Baggett's life is damn near perfect.
Will reflects on his good fortune on his way to the television studio for a meeting with his boss. One moment he's flying high, the next moment he's fired. The family-owned station has been sold to an unsympathetic conglomerate. Ratings and loyal viewership mean nothing and Will is left without a job or identity.
A public scuffle with the new management attracts local authorities and causes embarrassment to the Baggett household. Will's actions make it clear that his marriage of twenty-five years is on the rocks and his son doesn't like him very much either.
In the middle of this unfortunate mess, cousin Wingfoot Baggett arrives to take Will back to his last childhood home. The Weather Wizard lost his job, his identity and even his family, now he must face his past as well. A decades-old tragedy has left Will and his two cousins trapped in their youth, unable look back or move forward.
Captain Saturday chronicles Will's self-discovery journey. For years his job was his identity. He must do some serious soul-searching after the realization that all these years, he put his family after his celebrity persona.
These related events open his eyes, but a second run-in with the law forces his Wilbur Baggett to confront personal demons that should have been dealt with long ago. Will begins the process of reinventing himself as a father, a husband, a Baggett and anything but a weatherman.
Captain Saturday (named for a favorite baseball cap) runs deeper than the woes of Will Baggett. At hand is the clash between the Old South and the New South. Family lines are replaced by freeway lines. Blue blood is replaced by green cash. Characteristics that once defined the South are disappearing as charming cities melt into urban sprawl.
This is a poignant novel, guaranteed to draw just about every emotion from its readers. Prepared to be happy, sad, amused and annoyed by the cast and their actions. The characters are determined to remain in their protective shells. Their stubbornness is frustrating at times, yet Inman succeeds in maintaining readers' attention. Scenes with Baggett cousins provide tender moments, revealing the strength of family ties.
Captain Saturday is nicely paced. The story flows smoothly from the present day, to Will's youth and back again. The North Carolina backdrop makes for interesting reading, though Inman isn't the first author to bring Old South vs. New South into his work.
This novel marks my introduction into the work of Robert Inman. So far, I like what I see. The author has created a compelling tale in an interesting setting. If you're craving a unique story of redefining one's identity you will be thoroughly pleased with Captain Saturday.