Saturday, April 9, 2011
"Long Drive Home" by Will Allison - A Cautionary Emotional Tale
Title: Long Drive Home
Author: Will Allison
Publisher: Free Press
Release Date (Expected): May 17th, 2011
Available for Pre-order here: Amazon / Barnes & Noble
Enter for your chance to win a copy here: Long Drive Home - Goodreads
A riveting second novel by Will Allison, author of the acclaimed What You Have Left. A happily married suburban father makes a mistake that results in a teenager's death and sends his own life into a devastating tailspin. Written as a confessional letter, the book is a fascinating and moving cautionary tale that explores the moral ambiguities of personal responsibility as it chronicles a father’s desperate attempt to explain himself to his daughter—even though he knows that in doing so, he risks losing her forever.
"Long Drive Home" by Will Allison may be a relatively small book of only 224 pages, but it packs a huge punch for the reader. Undoubtedly this novel will leave a huge impact on any one who is lucky enough to pick up this book. The beauty of this novel lies in the simplicity with which the author has tackled an immensely complicated and intricate subject. The premise is clear, and the question is: What happens when a single mistake, made in an unknowing and angry moment, causes your world to implode? Glen Bauer is a loving husband, and a doting father - the kind of man who can do no wrong in his family's eyes. And yet, on one afternoon, one act of sheer frustration results in him becoming a criminal, a reckless driver and a careless father.
Slowly marinating in his own guilt, Glen walks a fine line between complete denial and constant fear of being found out. Above all else, he is constantly plagued by knowing that his daughter was in the car on that fateful day, and worse things could have happened. As he deals with the dead teenager's grieving mother, the constant questioning by the police, as well as the constant fear of being sued - Will's own family disintegrates as his marriage spirals downwards.
The book is told from Glen's perspective, in the form of flashbacks, and a letter running along the narrative, in which he confronts his own demons and comes clean to his daughter - even at the risk of forever losing her love and respect. It is a simple narrative, written in simple language, and very evenly paced. There are no major twists and turns, but the narrative fluidly moves along, with nary a dull moment. Although there were times where I, like the main character and Juwan's mother, wanted so badly to just find out where it would all end. For me, this book was an extremely tense read. A dreadful knot kept tightening in my core, as I kept reading along. There were definitely a few moments in there, when I actually put the book down, to take a few deep breaths. And when the book came to a close, I visibly sighed with relief. However, although all that may seem like I am recommending against reading this book - I feel like this is one of those books that one MUST read, in order to gain a perspective on life. To gain the valuable lesson that every action has a reaction, a consequence. "Long Drive Home" is definitely a novel I will hold close to my heart, because it is just representative of many such stories untold, and it is surely a story that I will keep in mind, "to remind me to be careful."
My Rating : 4/5 Stars
Disclaimer: Although I received an Advance Reading Copy (ARC) of this book for review, I was not compensated monetarily, or in any other way, for my opinion. The opinions stated in this review are solely mine, and are not representative of views of the author, or publishing company, of this book.