I really liked this book. This surprised me since I was really hesitant about actually picking it up, but something kept nudging me towards it. I’m going to have to check out some other work by Mr. McLarty.
We meet Smithy Ide on the worst day of his life. His parents are in a car wreck and he has to travel between two different hospitals to visit them. They die within hours of each other and, as far as us readers know, he is alone. We do learn he has a sister, but she isn’t in the picture. While going through his parents mail he learns that his sister has also died recently, on the other side of the continent, within days of his parents. She was schizophrenic.
The cast of characters is absolutely fascinating. They are interesting, awkward, strong, broken, good, and lost. Smithy’s sister Beth is wonderful and strange and the way her brother views her is sweet and lovely. There is a neighbor girl who, as a child is nothing but a pest to Smithy, and as an adult is his only, slightly broken, connection to his family and past.
Smithy embarks upon a cross-country trek to claim his sister. He rides his bike from Rhode Island to California. He is an essentially good person, and this is what saves him despite being shot (a couple of times), beat up, arrested and accosted in all sorts of ways during his trek. He also saves people, helps people, and they help him.
This was one of those quirky books. You know the type that are full of people you know, and yet all the people in it are so strange you can’t believe there are actually people like that. At least, that is how it felt to me.
In the end it is a story about love, family, and finding out what is important to you, then living your life accordingly. It’s a book about transformation, both physical and psychological. Loved it.