Grief is something most people can share; loss of a loved one is never very far. It could be your own, a friend’s, or even a neighbor’s, but we see the fallout time and again throughout life. Grief centers are formed to help those who need to move through the process, and yet not everyone does.
In The Long Way Home by Karen McQuestion, we follow the lives of a small group woman whose grief is all-consuming. Marnie has lost her boyfriend; she had been with him for years and raised his young son, only to lose him to his real mother after his dad’s death. She is grieving both the death of her boyfriend and the loss of a child she had raised since kindergarten. In counseling and listening to the others speak about their losses, she is unable to find a common ground, and she struggles with opening up.
When a young and vibrant woman unexpectedly shows up to counseling out of the blue, life seems to take another turn. There is something about her that makes you want to believe; she can pull the smile out of the dourest companion, and is able to help alleviate the stress of some of the others through hugs and laughs. Who is she and what is her own grief that brings her to the center?
Jazzy had not intended to go to the grief center, but something led her there. She always knew when someone needed her and it appeared there were some serious issues at hand. Having grown up a psychic, she was always drawn to those in need, as was her grandmother before her. When she is able to pull them together for a trip to visit Marnie’s son, none of them can grasp how such a trip has come together. Yet none of them want to question Jazzy, and do not feel they can let the other group members down.
Rita is in her 50s, very prim and ladylike and still angry over the murder of her daughter ten year prior. The murderer has never been found, but she knows who it is. The authorities do not have enough evidence to continue so Rita continues to rage. Laverne is Marnie’s landlady whom she has never met, an elderly lady who had become housebound and crippled with grief after the death of her beloved husband. Jazzy rounds out the group, driven to help the group through her psychic nature.
Little do they know that they are embarking on the adventure that will change the pattern of their lives? Love, healing, and friendship wait at the end of the road, but can this crazy cast of characters get there driving cross country on their own? Las Vegas is the city of dreams, can their own dreams come true?
McQuestion has written a journal of the lives of a group of women in their search for answers. The characters are an amazing cast of people, very like many of those you know. Each carries secrets and resentments that drive them on their quest. Jazzy is as different from this cast as you can get, and yet is the catalyst that makes things happen, the glue that keeps them together. Her light shines brightly, and while she is a psychic, I would have to believe she is part guardian angel. The light of life and love shines within her quite brightly.
The trip is riddled with problems and magic, and just enough excitement and adventure to keep you both interested and charmed. I began reading and could not put the book down until it was finished. I wanted to know how the lives of these women would change. They became very real to me and have stayed with me even after the book came to an end. I would love to see this made into a movie, it is vibrant, and loaded with feeling, both good and bad. The entire story begins with grief and becomes something much more.
If you enjoy people and characters you will love The Long Way Home. If you enjoy adventure, and the often crazy antics of people who do not seem to work as a team, or even fit into a group that makes sense, you will find this story makes a fun and interesting journey. I was hooked from the beginning, and while it is early yet, it is one of my favorite books of the year.
The Long Way Home would be an excellent summer read and a book to share with friends. It would also make and excellent book club or reading group novel, sure to spice up the group. I believe this is a must have for your library, and one of McQuestion’s best so far.