Thursday, August 8, 2013
G129 Book Review of Down This Road by Kelli Dawn
Author: Kelli Dawn
Publisher: Kandon publishing
Type of book: Utah, ranching, decisions, lack of trust, family, romance, lack of emotion, motherhood, being a single mother
Year it was published: 2012
They say you can never go home, and for high-powered Chicago attorney Charlie McIntire, that is perfectly fine. She left home the day she turned 18 and never planned to return…but at 29, she finds herself running back to the ranch, the only place she can think of that will help her face an unexpected turn of events. Charlie tries to settle back into the quiet pace of country living, unsure of everything except the fact that she still hates shoveling manure. Life on the ranch is uneventful, and without the distractions of the city, Charlie is forced to deal with things she’d rather avoid: what she’s going to do with the rest of her life; the unfinished business between her and an ex-boyfriend; and most of all, the event that will change her life forever.
Down This Road chronicles Charlie’s journey of self-discovery. It explores how the past shapes the present; how difficult it can be to change patterns of behavior; and how sometimes, learning your lesson might come just a little too late.
I would imagine that for many readers Charlie might be a frustrating character because she tends to keep see-sawing back and forth, or else she's doing her best to only focus on not being dependent on anyone. I wasn't frustrated by her but instead like the realism and liked the battle between the emotion and her head. There is also Brooke, Charlie's best friend who also has trust issues, opposite from Charlie, and then there's Chase who sounds a bit like prince charming, except like Charlie, I had a difficult time judging and figuring him out. There is also Joan, Charlie's aunt who is independent and tends to be happy with her life. I get the feeling that she has gone a lot through what Charlie is going through. There is also of course Charlie's family such as her brother, her former crush and so forth. I also liked that Allie played an important part in Charlie's life instead of just being there just to be there.
One is never too old to learn and change
Its written in first person narrative completely from Charlie's point of view. The time does move in the book, and it moves realistically I suppose. I loved Joan's quote about shedding skin and then hesitating to shed it which sounds like a vicious cycle. While there is romance in the book, the author also focuses a lot on family and friendship interactions, which really impressed me, and I also enjoyed learning about the ranching life and the characters' back-stories.
The United States
Who is Kelli Dawn? You could say she’s a writer, a teacher, a mentor and even a country-turned-city girl—and you’d be right on all counts. She loves her adopted hometown of San Diego, where she lives with her husband and dog—yet she hasn’t totally forsaken her Utah farm girl roots. One of her favorite vacation activities is running cows with her brother, and she hasn’t forgotten how to drive a tractor, something she learned at age seven.
Kelli has come a long way since her upbringing in the middle of nowhere, where cattle outnumber people at a 10:1 ratio. She graduated from the University of Utah with a bachelor’s degree in psychology and a master’s degree in education and fled her native state a few years later because she was ready for a change of scenery—and year-round tan.
Kelli has dedicated most of her professional career to teaching math to middle school students and empowering teenage girls through enrichment programs. While she loves working with kids, she’s also passionate about writing, an activity she pursues daily in the wee hours of the morning while most (sane) people are sleeping. She’s authored many magazine pieces and shares her daily insights on her blog. Her debut novel, Down This Road, is a story about a woman’s journey of self-discovery. Kelli is currently writing her second novel and has tons of ideas for future books.
At first I wasn't sure what to expect when I started reading this book. I was worried that I might find beginning boring or whatnot, but I was surprised as to how addictive the story became, and how the author manages to keep reality intact. For Charlie there aren't quick solutions nor does she come to terms with her issues. The changes are depicted realistically- one step forward and two steps back and lessons will be life-changing. I really liked the speaking and writing style and how its always possible to find love no matter the road in life. I also enjoyed the character consistency and I had an easy time keeping track of characters as well as enjoying them. The atmosphere tends to be a bit humorous and easy-going. Its not a heavy read, but it is effective because it does cause a reader to consider why and how things fail.
Quick notes: I would like to thank the author for the opportunity to read and review the book.
5 out of 5
(0: Stay away unless a masochist 1: Good for insomnia 2: Horrible but readable; 3: Readable and quickly forgettable, 4: Good, enjoyable 5: Buy it, keep it and never let it go.)