1. the Lincoln Highway by Amor Towles
Completed: January 8, 2022
Review: Emmett Watson is heading home to the family farm in Nebraska after a 15 month stint at a juvenile work farm which he earned after being found guilty of involuntary manslaughter. His mother left the family when he was just little and with his father's recent death and the farm being foreclosed on by the bank, Emmett just wants to pick up his car and his 8 year old brother and head to California where he plans to start over with a house renovating and flipping business. But Billy has found some postcards among their father's possessions that their mother had sent from various stops along the Lincoln Highway just after she left them. Billy is adamant about going to California via the Lincoln Highway and stopping in the towns depicted on the postcards in the hopes that it will somehow reunite them with their mother. Begrudgingly agreeing, Emmett's plans are further dismantled when he finds two friends from the work farm had hidden in the warden's car trunk which dropped Emmett off and now they want Emmett to take them to New York which thrills Billy because the Lincoln Highway starts in New York. Duchess is a fast talker and soon has convinced Emmett it will just be a quick little detour and then they can all head to California in time to make Emmett's deadline of July 4. But little does Emmett realize the chaos that will become his life when he agrees to the plan.
This story is told over a 10 day span and from lots of viewpoints. The majority are from the main characters of Emmett, Billy, Wooly and Duchess but then you get several secondary character viewpoints thrown in as well throughout the book. Little of the story actually has to do with the Lincoln Highway. The Greek myth about Ulysses factors into the story as well and there is lots of conversations and telling about that legend throughout as well as other heroes that Billy refers to from his book that he reads and there is Christian/religious thoughts thrown in throughout as well. I liked this story in some parts but didn't love it as a whole. It's hard to describe why. I liked the idea of the story and the gist of it. But certain parts I really didn't like at all including the ending. I loved certain characters, was indifferent to others, wondered why some were even in there, and totally disliked others. I thought parts of the telling were way too wordy with too many bunny trails and it could have been shortened up a bit though other reviews loved the telling of it. I couldn't help but sigh when there was two pages spent on describing in detail a clown's act when he was a minute mention in one chapter. I felt the story started to get somewhat muddled with all the antics and chaos that Duchess brought. It kind of got old after awhile for me. The author chose to use no quotation marks in the conversations instead using a dash whenever someone spoke or started dialogue. It took a long time for me to fall into that style and so the first part of the book was choppy for me but once I got used to it it flowed more smoothly. One part where the author really lost me was when he chose a couple of vulgar swear words and paired it with Jesus' name. That soooo offends me and I don't understand why an author has to stoop to that and bring an offense like that to a section of his readership. I pressed on in the hope it wasn't used again or I would put the book down and fortunately it wasn't. The rating I would have given dropped because of this. I loved Gentleman in Moscow and had high hopes for this one but it was just alright for me.
2. While My Sister Sleeps by Barbara Delinsky
Completed: January 13, 2022