Sunday, August 4, 2019

Book review: A Song for the Road by Rayne Lacko

Book Summary
When a tornado destroys his Tulsa home, fifteen-year-old Carter Danforth is trapped in the pawnshop where his daddy hawked his custom, left-handed Martin guitar six years earlier―and then took off, leaving Carter with nothing but a hankering to pluck strings and enough heartache to sing the blues. Injured by the storm, Carter’s mother is laid up in the hospital. She wants Carter to fly out to Reno and stay with her sister. Too bad Carter already spent her hidden cash stash to buy his dad’s guitar. Rather than tell her the truth, he embarks on an epic road trip in search of his father in Santa Monica. But Carter isn’t a runaway. He reckons he’s a “running to.”

On his way west, Carter picks up licks, chord changes, and performance techniques from a quirky cast of Southwestern charmers: a rock star, a thief, a bluesman, a chanteuse-turned-chef, and the dream of a girl back home. A Song for the Road reads like a mash-up of The Wizard of Oz and Easy Rider―by the time he reaches the end of old US Route 66, Carter has learned how to deep-fry yucca blossoms and tell the truth of his life through music.

Flo's Review
I'm a sucker for a good travel story and this one did not disappoint. Carter met his fair share of characters along the road, and it was interesting to learn about them as he did. I might have cheered when some people from the beginning of the novel made a reappearance down the line. 

A Song for the Road is deeply about music -- finding yourself in music, learning music, music as liberation. Carter's love of music is so apparent, and perhaps the one constant in his life at the moment. Everything that happens to him somehow involves music. I liked the little touches of detail in the novel -- the way that Carter would write letters to Kaia in sparkly pen and how he created a new dish (the recipe is in the back of the book.) Also, who of us doesn't have a Ledbetter type person in our lives?! I think he was my favorite person Carter met on the road.

While I was reading, I flagged the comment "Love doesn't walk away." It's such a powerful phrase -- four words that hold a lot of meaning, intention, commentary. I thought, "Wow, nice." Little did I know that they would come back around! How does it come back around, you ask? I guess you'll have to read and find out! 

A Song for the Road publishes August 27th from SparkPress. Thank you to the publisher for sending me an Advance Reader Copy in exchange for my honest review.

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