Doled out in chronologically spaced episodes, To Do the Deal leads us along the life trail of Kenneth Bodine. Some of us come at life never really knowing what we want to do. We know we need to make money. Kenneth is such a man, floundering from job to job, looking for the place where he belongs, something he enjoys doing.
Along the way, Baker delves into Kenneth’s personality through his wife’s thoughts of him as well as interactions with his estranged father. He is a man of vocal economy, sufficient in competency for any general work. He tends to focus on sales: attempting to sell mattresses, peddling frozen food, and selling cars, with an interim as a property manager for a temperamental cheapskate.
Kenneth makes decisions based on the obstacles in his path that steer him in one direction or another, whether that is a call offering a job or a summary dismissal from employment. He possesses no ambition to make a certain something of himself. He wants to do the right thing, help people that cross his path instead of hindering them the way he’s been hindered.
I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book, appreciating the subtle humor that accompanies Kenneth’s trek navigating employment pitfalls. I also related to his wife Jodi, a freelance editor dismayed by the decline of language arts education.