Chris Baker has wasted his life avoiding emotional connections. Emptiness is his comfort zone. And yes, there are painful reasons for his fears.
But an unusual last request from a dying friend exposes his heart in the most difficult way possible…with the true love he once betrayed.
When Chris agrees to reunite his friend’s grown son, Max, with his mother in British Columbia, he’s forced to confront the unresolved passions of their explosive affair that triggered her deportation years before. And though the drive to Canada may recall idyllic moments from the 60’s, today’s road trip is dangerous as Chris and Max are chased by drug dealers and pursued by Max’s impetuous girlfriend.
Mature lovers and young lovers. Promises and betrayals. A Family Garden transforms the journey North into a complex journey inward, a search for lost dreams and the path home to the essential self.
A beautiful book with a slow start. I feel like I have to start the review by saying this because I don’t want you to not continue reading it if you feel it starts slow. The writing as well as the story just keeps getting better and better.
The characters are well sketched out and they’re all unique and defined in their own way. I enjoyed the character ensemble – it made for some funny as well as heartwarming moments. Chris gets a phone call from Virginia, his friend Dave’s wife. Chris and Dave haven’t spoken for years, and Dave is on his deathbed. One last wish of a dying friend – Take my son Max to his mother Nicole in Canada.
Much of Chris’ thoughts throughout the book keep going back to the wonderful 60’s, when they were young, wild, and free. These thoughts, interspersed with their present day road trip to British Columbia, provide a stark contrast to the present-day situation. Max is difficult at best, and seems resentful from the start.
It isn’t explicitly spelled out but you can sense a shift in his attitude as the story progresses. His girlfriend Kali is another wonderful character; she’s a bit crazy, but she’s got a heart of gold. Probably one of the best characters in the book.
Also, Nicole used to be Chris’ girlfriend, so he spends a lot of time wondering what this reunion would be like. You can feel his ache, and it isn’t an easy thing to convey without spelling it out explicitly. The author has a way of conveying emotions with subtlety, and I really enjoyed it.
I have just one thing to say, I wish it had gone through a proofreader/editor because there are a few typos. I’m not a Grammar Nazi and nor do I mind run-on sentences, I just feel like a light copy edit would have helped. It is mildly distracting, but this is no way is a comment on the story. The story arc and character development is fantastic.
Oh also, the descriptions of food are awesome. I hope this author includes more food in his future stories! (I love food, so this is just something I randomly wish for when I read something nice.)