Posted by: terrytek | June 7, 2011

Long Drive Home by Will Allison

Year published: 2011

Genre: Contemporary fiction

Rating: 4 (out of 5)

Pros:

  1. Written about a momentary event that changes people’s lives; I like that kind of story
  2. Fatherhood/family dialog rings true
  3. Well-paced drama

Cons:

  1. Not all the decisions made by the characters seem realistic to me (more about this below)

Warning: following discussion contains spoilers, although not as many as most reviews I’ve read 🙂

If I ever wrote a novel, it would be about a sudden event that takes place and changes people’s lives, because I have always enjoyed reading those types of books. Long Drive Home is such a story. Glen is married with a six-year-old daughter, Sara. While driving her home from school one day, a series of events occurs that leads Glen to make a very poor decision that leads to another person’s death. His decision is not the decision I referred to above in Cons #1;  the decisions I am referring to are those of Glen’s wife Liz. I understand that not every spouse reacts with complete support every time there is adversity. However, Glen’s wife’s reaction is an almost instant desire to separate for the sole purpose of protecting her assets. What’s that saying–with friends like that, who needs enemies? Part of the explanation that the author gives for Liz’ reaction is that her dad was a lawyer and she is the main breadwinner of the family. That reasoning is a bit too contrived for my taste.

I think that Will Allison does a good job of revealing what Glen is going through in making his initial decision to not inform the police of his role in the accident, and Glen’s subsequent reactions to the unfolding investigation. The whole incident is complicated by the fact that Sara, as a passenger in Glen’s car, is a witness to the accident. The accident occurs in Glen’s neighborhood, and he doesn’t know if any of his neighbors or any passers-by have witnessed the accident either.

This story is an interesting case about lying. When you lie, how much of it is what you actually say that is a lie, and how much of it is what you don’t say?

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