Tuesday, May 17, 2011
Review & Giveaway: The Long Drive Home by Will Allison
Title: The Long Drive Home by Will Allison
Publisher: Free Press
Published: May 17, 2011
From the jacket:
Life can change in an instant because of one small mistake. For Glen Bauer, all it takes is a quick jerk of the steering wheel, intended to scare a reckless driver. But the reckless driver is killed, and just like that, Glen's placid suburban existence begins to unravel. When Glen realizes no one else saw the accident, he impulsively lies about what happened--to the police, to his wife, even to his six-year-old daughter, Sara, who was in the backseat at the time of the crash. But a tenacious detective thinks Sara might have seen more than she knows, or more than her parents will let her tell. And when Glen tries to prevent the detective from interrogating Sara, he finds himself in a high-stakes cat-and-mouse game that could end in a lawsuit or prison. What he doesn't see coming is the reaction of his wife, Liz--a panicked plan that threatens to tear their family apart in the name of saving it. But what if the accident wasn't really Glen's fault? What if someone else were to blame for the turn his life has taken? It's a question Glen can't let go of. And as he struggles to understand the extent of his own guilt, he finds himself on yet another collision course, different in kind but with the potential to be equally devastating.
O, what a tangled web we weave, when we first practice to deceive!
For a small book, Long Drive Home packs quite a wallop. Two hundred plus pages of emotional turmoil. Glen Bauer, our protagonists, deals with all the stages of grief -- guilt, anger, denial, bargaining,and acceptance.
While I understand that Glen was probably traumatized by the accident, some of his actions made no sense. He lied to cover his actions but seemed unable to fully complete the ruse of his innocence. He claims to want to protect his daughter and his family from harm yet seems utterly unable to follow through on these intentions. He constantly seems to either blame everyone else or put himself in precarious situations. He performs a heroic action and an equally reckless action as if to "good" deeds to contract his "bad" deed.
As someone from the Tri-State area (New York/New Jersey/ Connecticut), I can totally understand how road rage works. I can totally understand Glen's "not on my lawn" reaction to the reckless driving of the teenager in the car. Most times I encourage the person who is driving to ignore bad driving unless one is put in physical danger. The fact that Glen essentially played chicken with another driver, particularly a reckless one, gives an idea of his personality.
All that being said, Will Allison writes marvelously and is willing to go "there". Glen is able to evaluate whether the victim's race and expensive car played some part in his actions. Did his earlier altercation carry into the accident? We feel every ounce of turmoil Glen suffers for the year depicted in the novel. This book was like a contemporary version of Edgar Allen Poe's Telltale Heart. The novel includes an excerpt of his previous book What You Have Left. I will definitely be looking for the full novel.
*This book was offered by the publisher Free Press in exchange for my honest opinion. *
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