William Brinkley’s Don’t Go Near the Water has a trivial plot, absurd situations, ludicrous characters, and a general air of frivolity.
Don’t Go Near the Water by William Brinkley
Random House, 1956. 1956 bestseller #1. My grade: B.
Ensign Max Siegal has been transferred from a destroyer to the Fleet’s Public Relations section where he helps win World War II by assuming responsibility for promoting the Pacific island of Tulura to visiting congressmen.
Max is the ultimate comic hero. He’s brighter than his supposed superiors, witty, perceptive, and above all, human.
Max falls for Melora Alba, who teaches the local one-room school.
Max gets time with Melora by doing janitorial chores while she grades papers and by researching students’ questions at the Fleet library.
Finally Max wins Melora with a gift: The Encyclopedia Britannica.
The PR staff try to make themselves look good while doing as little as possible.
When they succeed, it’s usually because Max is pulling strings behind the scenes.
Max can needle a congressman without being caught or solve a crisis using only his knowledge of human nature.
In the ultimate act of compassion, Max teaches the inept “Marblehead” Nash to use a sextant.
© 2016 Linda Gorton Aragoni