Tuesday, January 31, 2017
The Road to Enchantment by Kaya McLaren
Willow tells the story of her life, flashing back and forth from present day to her adolescence, a troubled one she blames on her parents' divorce. When she was thirteen, her father fell in love with another woman, and her mother packed up Willow, left Washington state, and moved to New Mexico to an isolated piece of land off the grid, just off the Apache Reservation. There, as one of the few white girls in school, she struggled with bullies until Darrel, a half-Apache, half-Samoan boy, stuck up for her. While she fought against her mother's hardscrabble lifestyle, she found solace with Darrel and his grandparents. At eighteen, she escaped New Mexico to lead a life as a cello player.
Now, within one week, her musician boyfriend leaves her, her mother dies, and she finds out she's pregnant. At thirty-nine, she returns to her mother's home to settle the estate, only to learn her mother was deeply in debt. Her only consolation is the friends she had forgotten she had.
The Road to Enchantment is a bittersweet story of a woman struggling with her own memories, and her future. How do you find a home after thirty-nine years, when you've always wanted to belong, and always felt unloved? It's a story of a sympathetic woman who learns her mother was more sympathetic and complex than she ever gave her credit for.
This is a book for anyone who appreciates a story of life's struggles, a character-driven novel with a wonderful support cast. And, if you read The Road to Enchantment all the way through, and don't cry at some point, let me know.
Kaya McLaren's website is www.kayamclaren.com
The Road to Enchantment by Kaya McLaren. St. Martin's Griffin. 2017. ISBN 97801250058225 (paperback), 352p.
FTC Full Disclosure - I received the book for a journal review.