Chicago, IL (PressExposure) February 23, 2009 -- The American Dream has always been one of bigger is better. Ever since the books of Horatio Algeir formulated the mythology of a poor boy becoming rich, American has defined itself as the land where anyone can have the American Dream of the big house and big car. Barack Obama's story proves that this really is the land of dreams becoming reality. But in William Hazelgrove's satiric novel, Rocket Man, there is a different spin on this quest for material success. In Hazelgrove's world, his protagonists want to have something smaller, something more affordable. The Great Gatsby is the benchmark for defining the American Dream in the twentieth century. Jay Gatsby wants it all and seems on the verge of getting it until a deranged gunman puts an end to his dream. Fitzgerald cautions us, but does not say that we should reverse ourselves and go after a smaller more sensibile way of living. Enter Dale Hammer of the twentyfirst century. Here is a man who wants out. He wants out of the big house and the big car lifestyle that is strangling him. He makes no secret that he is not comfortable with the life he has come to inhabit. "I do admire the house, I really do, but I can't help but wonder, who would live in such a house?"
Dale Hammer and his quest to get to a smaller house he can afford throws up a curve ball to the mantra of striving for something more glorious, something beyond the next hill." William Elliott Hazelgrove's ROCKET MAN is a brilliant piece of writing, a work that meticulously dissects contemporary life in America with such a keen eye that the author is able to catch at least passing glances at us all," says top Amazon reviewer Grady Harp. [http://www.amazon.com/Rocket-Man-William-Elliott-H..]. novel gives us a week in the life of Dale Hammer and it is not pretty. Here is a man overextended, overtaxed, who cannot afford his lifestyle, home, even his car. But from outward appearences he has it all. "I really wanted to get my hands around what the American Dream had become," author William Hazelgrove said from his office in Ernest Hemingway's attic. "I don't think anyone could afford the type of lifestyle that had come to be what the media defined as success."
The real turn of Hazelgrove's novel comes in the main characters definition of sucess. He wants to live a "normal life." He wants to change his life or as Rick Kogan of WGN's premeir Book Program in Chicago said of the novel, "a readjustment that many of us have to make about the American Dream." Compared to Updike and John Irving by the Chicago Sun Times, [http://www.billhazelgrove.com/suntimes.pdf] Rocket Man has hit a chord with many readers who fairly scream out," that's me." Jay Gatsby certainly would not recognize the aspirations of Dale Hammer who yearns for a smaller home, a more sane way of living. On second thoughts, maybe he would.