Brendan Kiely's new novel, The Last True Love Story - 'You have to respect the road trip."
Hendrix's beloved Gpa is slipping away from him - Alzheimer's is stealing his memories. Hendrix has been writing down the stories of Gpa and Gma (loved these inserted tales), but when Gpa says he wants to go 'home', Hendrix impulsively decides to sign him out of the retirement home and drive from LA to Ithaca, New York. Problem is he doesn't have a license. He's got a car - his mom is out of the country and won't notice that her 'bug' (or Gpa) are missing for at least a few days.
Corrina is seventeen as well, but does have her license. Both Hendrix and Corrina are lonely and out of step with the rest of their peer groups, but sense something in each other - kindred spirits? And so the road trip is on with each character having their own reasons to head out.
I loved all three main characters. Corrina's smart mouth and 'acting out' hide an insecure young woman trying to find her place in her family and society. But when the mask comes off, she's a kind, intuitive person. Hendrix too, is struggling with unresolved family questions. His father is dead and no one really talks about him. There may be answers about 'Dead Dad' in Ithaca as well. Gpa affected me the most. Alzheimer's has touched my family as well. The glimpses into Gpa's life and his love for his deceased wife make for some touching and poignant scenes. And the times he forgets are well (and sadly) depicted.
The relationship between Hendrix and his Gpa is a joy to read. The budding relationship between Hendrix and Corrina is sweet and believable. Family dynamics are also explored from many viewpoints. These three are not just navigating the road, but life as well.
Music is such a big part of any road trip. I ended up jotting down many of Corrina's play lists - rock and roll classics with a healthy dose of new stuff.
Great opening prologue.....
"I'd feel like this is all coming to the end, except I can't. Because it can't be. It can't be the end, not for Gpa, not for Corrina, and not for me, because it is out here on the road in the middle of nowhere that I have finally come to understand what my grandfather means when he says that the point of living is learning how to love."
.....and some great endings too - lines, songs and stories - that I'll let you discover. And yes, I can absolutely see The Last True Love Story as a movie. Read an excerpt of The Last True Love Story. You can follow Brendan Kiely on Twitter.