Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Bill Warrington's Last Chance - James King

Summary: Bill Warrington's three children escaped their father’s domineering presence long ago, but with a new diagnosis that threatens his mind and his most cherished memories, this monumentally stubborn ex-Marine is determined to patch up their differences before it’s too late.

The younger Warringtons, however, have their own issues to contend with: Marcy's struggles to raise her headstrong teenage daughter on her own; Nick's inability to move on with his life after his wife’s death; and Mike’s ego maniacal, self-absorbed philandering that threatens his career and his own family. When all three grown siblings greet Bill's overtures with wary indifference, he improvises a scheme none of them could have foreseen: skip town with Marcy’s fifteen-year-old daughter, April, whose twin ambitions to learn how to drive and to find rock stardom on the West Coast make her his perfect--and perfectly willing--abductee.

Despite his carefully crafted clues as to their whereabouts, Bill's plan to force a family reunion soon veers dangerously off course. His dementia worsens more quickly than anticipated, and April finds herself behind the wheel of his beloved Chevy Impala, dealing with situations no fifteen-year-old should face while gaining surprising insights into a complex family history that emerges from Bill's fragmented flights into the past. With the American heartland yielding to the Rockies, and her mother and uncles grappling with their own recollections as they scramble to find her, April’s resolve to protect her grandfather--and honor his final lucid wishes for them all--culminates in a tour de force of reconciliation and atonement.

A rich multi-generational saga, Bill Warrington's Last Chance soars with humor, compassion, and unflinching insight into the pain and joy of all family life, while the promise of a new generation shines bright against the ravages of aging in a man who does not go gently… anywhere.
(Summary from book, Cover photo from barnesandnoble.com, BOOK RECEIVED FREE FOR REVIEW)

My Review: The premise of Bill Warrington's Last Chance is at two different ends of the spectrum. It is a coming-of-age tale mixed with the story of a grandfather's battle with dementia. It is the bittersweet tale of a young girl discovering her identity while her grandfather quietly loses his own. The result is a remarkable book full of drama yet laced with humor, leaving the reader sighing in satisfaction. This is a beautiful story of new-found respect and unconditional love between a grandfather and his granddaughter.

The characters within these pages will leap from the pages to pull the reader in. Each character has flaws yet processes enough redeeming qualities that you can't help but to care for each and every one. Most remarkably the reader will be able to recognize and relate to some aspect in every character.

This story remains interesting throughout. The writing flows making it an easy read. And while all is not neatly tied up and presented with a pretty bow in the end, the overall package is appealing and completely satisfying. It's a memorable novel that I will be recommending frequently.

My Rating: 4 Stars

To Sum it up: A remarkable tale of a teenage girl's discovery of life at odds, yet harmoniously told, with her grandfather's loss of reality.

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