Millhone responded to the chaos as many men might: he logged on to eBay and bid on a vintage BMW, his fantasy car, but not exactly an easy fit with his family's finances. As if sharing the news that he'd won the auction with his already-peeved wife weren't bad enough, it turned out that he had to travel from New York to Texas to collect the car. His estranged dad joined him, and they embarked upon a dysfunctional road trip, a comedy of errors lending Millhone the perspective he needed to save his marriage and to understand what was really important in his life: his family.
©2009 Mark Millhone; (P)2009 Blackstone Audio, Inc.
I guess you could classify this as a sort of "coming-of-middle-age" story, but to me it was just pure pathos. The writing was rich without being overly verbose and really created scenes, but the vast majority of the scenes in this book were just devastatingly depressing. When the story wasn't terribly sad, I usually found myself either frustrated by the narrator's negativity or angered by his violent reactions (there is one scene in particular, involving a dog, that almost made me quit the book right then and there).
I guess I was caught off guard because the book came highly recommended by one of my favorite comedy writers, so perhaps I would have a less critical opinion of I'd known what I was getting into beforehand. As, as I've already mentioned, the saving grace of this book is that the writing is top-notch.
Just be forewarned that this book deep and dark and you get only the slightest bit of (ultimately unsatisfying) relief from all the ire at the very end.
I am mystified by the previous reviwers charactterization of a "whiny" tone. I found it to be entertaining and thoughtful. The narrator does a marvelous job of conveying the humor and pathos of the story. I hope Mark Milhone continues to write.
Usually books about road trips are about misadventures and self-discovery. Instead, this book uses a trip to pick-up a used BMW bought on ebay to rehash in flashbacks the narrator's past year of family medical emergencies, the deaths of family members (people and pets), and the falling apart of his marriage. Although the author tries to be humorous, the book sinks under the weight of its whiny tone. If this book were a movie, it would have gone straight to DVD.
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