Night Road by Kristin Hannah
I don't think this is a book I would've picked up on my own - I never read the backs and the cover wouldn't have drawn me in. So how did I get it? I won a case of books for my bookclub - that's the fun part of being handed a book, you may end up with something that's not on your rader - and I'll always give a free book a chance.
Night Road makes you wonder about your decisions as a mother. What is the right thing to do for your children? What would you do over? How tight do you hold on to them, when do you let go? Where's the line between being too lenient and too strict? Is it better for your kids to like you or respect you? When they leave the house, what if that's the last time you see them and what will they remember?
The story starts off slow, things don't really get moving til about page 100. Before that - its set-up - Lexi has moved from foster home to foster home and now is living with her loving aunt in a trailer park, she becomes best friends and girlfriend with girl & boy twins at school, who are the socioeconomic opposite - 2 parents, money, big house, college plans. But they three find they really mesh together and love each other. There's some teen make-out scenes that I didn't really need - nothing vulgar, but as an adult, it felt odd, but I see the necessity of mentioning it. Its the kids' senior year and then all the excitement and anxiety related to first love, graduation, choosing colleges, leaving your friends. All good background, but again, as an adult - I get it and kinda skimmed all the details.
Finally - the story takes a jump start. The three go to a pre-graduation party, and if you've read the book up to this point, you can anticipate what's going to happen when you put 3 kids, a car, and a we just-turned-18 and graduation-is-next-week party together. There's consequences to the decisions they make and the activities of the evening that affect everybody.
I found myself not liking their mother, Jude, very much. For all her thinking she was a warm and caring mother, I thought she was a bit controlling and not that warm, but more perfunctory - doing all the stuff a good mother should do, and then not doing them at all. That said, I did identify with her on some points (I'm sure there's some psychological analysis that can be done there about not liking someone who would do I what I would, but back to the book...) I felt for the kids' dad, Miles, who seems to be a side note in their lives. The kids - I just kept thinking "oh gosh, my kids will be teenagers one day and what will I do when that time comes". There were parts that made me a little tear-y.
This is my bookclub' selection and since the whole group is mother's, I'm sure it should make for interesting discussion.
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