Long Drive Home: A Novel by Will Allison
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Will Allison has written one of those 'it could happen to anyone' stories: A cautionary tale about the daily choices we make and how they could have a devastating effect on the rest of your life. While driving his daughter home from school, work-from-home dad, Glen is involved in a series of near-miss road rage incidents which culminate in his 'teaching the other driver a lesson', which results in the death of a teenage boy.
The story gets tricky when Glen doesn't tell the truth, to anyone really, about the incident. In thinking that he's protecting his family both from civil suit and criminal prosecution, he not only leaves out important details from the accident in question, but deletes the earlier incidents from the day. In attempting to shield his child, he's actually putting her in a horrible situation because she witnessed the earlier events.
I kept waiting for Glen to come clean and tell the whole story to the detective. I figured the story would either culminate in him being absolved of responsibility or convicted of vehicular manslaughter. I did not expect to have him confess only through a letter to his daughter which could really only further burden her later in life.
In trying to protect his family (well, let's be honest, he was protecting himself) he lost everything. One has to think that he will also lose his daughter's respect when she one day reads the letter and realizes that her father displayed not protective capacity, but extreme cowardice. Losing the respect and trust of his wife, and revealing himself to the detective to be 'broken', Glen was one of the more morally ambiguous characters I've read in awhile.
While I did like the book, I found myself having a hard time liking Glen. He caused so much stress and strain, while not giving his family, the victim's family or the victim himself the closure they deserved.
Oh what tangled webs we weave...
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