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Barry Coughlin Book

This is a page for LSU member, Barry Coughlin's New Book entitled "Living the Dream"

Book Review Living the Dream, a historical fiction novel by Barry A. Coughlin (2008, Barry A. Coughlin)
Reviewed by Don Teter, editor The West Virginia Surveyor
The book jacket and promotional flyer tell us the essentials about first time novelist Barry A. Coughlin: "Diagnosed with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), aka Lou Gehrig's Disease in June of 2001, Mr. Coughlin's career as a Land Surveyor began to enter the final chapter. Living the Dream is the culmination of people, personalities and experiences that Barry has had the pleasure to meet and to live through in his 45 years. Please enjoy his unique view on the world through his writing." An interview with Coughlin which aired on WAND-TV in central Illinois revealed that he typed the novel one letter at a time, clicking his mouse with an on-screen keyboard and averaging about 150 words per hour. He is in a wheelchair and is 90 percent paralyzed. The promotional flyer describes the novel's plot: "William Bassett is a land surveyor in the small Midwestern town of St. Elsewhere. While surveying along US Highway 40, he is accidentally struck by a car. He goes into a very deep coma. At first his past flashes though his mind, the free-spirited parents from California that adopted him, Mick and Stevie Woods, Jed Gerken, the surveyor and father figure that took William under his wing and the love of his life, the one that got away, Maggie Magnolia." "Then something unexplainable happens, His past becomes entangled with someone else, someone with the same name, William Bassett! It is December of 1818 and Illinois just became a state. William is a United States Deputy Surveyor in the new Capital city of Kaskaskia. He has been given the task of finding a more centralized location for the state's Capitol. He must form a survey party, gather supplies and be ready to embark on a journey through uncivilized territory in just a couple of months." "In the local tavern, he finds Duke and Montgomery Longhorn, brothers and buffalo hunters. Two French trappers, Martin St. Louis and Jacques Black agree to join the adventure. Two surveyor's helpers already with William, John and Wayne, complete the crew. In his search, he finds more than he bargained for - a woman. The angelic vision of Mary Margaret Rose would capture William's heart." "The journey is more than an adventure of a lifetime, it is two lives intertwined through time, but only one makes it to the end." Numerous passages could only have been written by a surveyor, but not just any surveyor. Experience in retracement work can be seen in "By design, the original corners are without error, whether they are in the intended location or not. Once the corner was set in the ground, it was to be used as correct. Therefore, it's more difficult to 'retrace the footsteps of the original surveyor' than it was to set them in the first place."

Watch Barry's TV Interview here:
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