Billed as a “speculative memoir”, MOOSE is a somewhat mind-bending journey through time and parallel existences told autobiographically by Ron ‘Moose’ Potter, a one-time Canadian child hockey talent, troubled drug-addicted teen, and later father and would-be man of faith who accesses a series of defining experiences from his life, re-assessing what was truly important to him, and guiding his younger self towards his destiny. Moose is not alone though. As the story progresses he gets a helping hand to navigate this metaphysical quest from a manifestation of his inner self. This spirit guide, rather wonderfully, takes the form of global rock and roll superstar Mick Jagger, complete with all the British singer’s mannerisms and trademark flamboyance. As Jagger guides with one hand though, Moose must also shake off the mysterious entity known as the Eagle, which threatens to derail Moose’s progress.
Justifying the ‘memoir’ tag in such a seemingly surreal tale is the fact that the majority of the events depicted here did take place, according to Potter. On his website, he describes the process behind MOOSE: “I began deep trancing and altering my focus, revisiting experiences from both my past and future versions of myself.” If this all sounds hard to keep track of, don’t worry. One of the great successes Potter has achieved here is making this, on the face of it, deeply challenging subject matter incredibly accessible. The quality of the writing is superb, with his memories beautifully drawn, making for a truly captivating read. We begin with a re-examination of a childhood altercation between Moose and an ice hockey referee. In processing this difficult memory, Moose begins to tackle some difficult emotions, freeing himself from the restraints they once imposed on him and setting the scene for much of what follows. A later section detailing the pilgrimage of Moose and his young friends on a road trip to see a Rolling Stones concert over the border in the United States of America is excellent and feels like it could have been an entire book in itself.
This first half of the book deals with anecdotes like these and is, loosely speaking, more traditional autobiography material. Roughly midway through the story, Moose then guides his younger self into a situation that triggers some dramatic, life-altering results, the repercussions of which cause the appearance of Jagger and the philosophical adventure that follows. Ultimately both aspects of MOOSE, from the more straightforward storytelling of his memories to the psychedelic spiritual quest, are deeply enjoyable.
With his spirit guide Mick Jagger by his side, Ron Potter skillfully subverts the memoir genre with MOOSE: a deeply absorbing, sometimes spiritual, often psychedelic journey through space, time, and the events that shape his life and death.
~Joseph Sharratt for IndieReader