Saturday, June 16, 2012
Solace of the Road (review)
Solace of the Road is not a plot heavy book. It's a character driven story where the reader uncovers the history of 14-year-old Holly Hogan. It starts when Holly receives a foster placement after living most of her life in a care home. She doesn't really want a new home or new parents, and she constantly complains about her foster parents Fiona and Ray. All she wants is to go back home to Ireland and the mother she left behind.
During an argument between Fiona and Ray, something snaps in Holly. Armed only with a blonde wig and her lizard purse, she becomes someone else--Solace of the Road. Solace is her bad girl alter-ego, older, wiser and unafraid of the things that would scare Holly. She runs away, on train, then bus and eventually hithchiking her way towards the coast of England. As she runs we encounter more and more memories of her past. Slowly the reader and Holly start to realize that the happy memories she has of home and her mother maybe weren't so happy after all.
I liked the fact that Holly/Solace is such an unreliable narrator. She only tells the reader certain things, normally what she wants to be true, until later in the story she reveals piece by piece the small lies that she's told along the way. Holly is a lost little girl who only wants her mother's love. She lies to the reader, but never more than she's lying to herself.
The story is poignant and sad. It's a portrait of a lost girl who doesn't know what home is. At the same time, the book has very funny moments as Holly goes on her adventure across England. The dichotomy of laughter and tears is what makes it realistically human and very worth reading.
The audiobook narration for this was excellent. The accent is slightly Irish, just enough so that you hear it occasionally but light enough to make it easy to understand. The voice is soft, young and knows how to crack a joke.