Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Last Bus to Wisdom by Ivan Doig

Donal is being raised by his grandmother since his parent's death in a car accident with a drunk driver.  He misses them but his grandmother loves him and they're doing OK on the ranch with her acting as the cook.  Everything is fine until she has to go in for surgery.  She'll be in recovery for a while so he will have to go stay with her sister until it's time for him to go home.  She assures him it will be before school starts and it will be like a summer vacation.  He doesn't trust that and he's right not to...

Riverhead Books and Edelweiss gave me the opportunity to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published August 18th, so you can grab a copy then.

I've heard many bookdealers talk about this author and the quality of his stories.  I hadn't read anything by him and he's died recently so I took advantage of this chance to taste his work.  They're right, he's a very good author.

The young boy finds himself with a very selfish female he swears couldn't be related to his grandmother and her husband.  He's older and doesn't speak English the best, but he's a nice man.  That's a good thing because then Donal can hide out in his greenhouse and chat with him instead of being driven nuts by his aunt.  After all, how many 11 year olds want to play canasta?

When nerves reach her limits, Donal's aunt is going to send him home.  She doesn't care if he has to go to an orphanage, she just wants him out of her house.  She takes him to the bus depot and goes home.  Donal's not going back now; grandma has to be well first.  He buys a ticket in the other direction and sits down in despair.  It doesn't last though.  His uncle joins him.  He tells him he wants to go west and he's left his aunt.

There's a lot of back story, a lot of current events, the two are on the run, and it's a fun and busy read.  Donal meets hobos, thieves, cowboys, a rodeo star and even more on the journey.  I really enjoyed the interaction between the old German and the young boy.  I grew up around my grandparents and spent time with them.  I recognized some of this interaction.

This was a very good read.  I wasn't sure how things were going to work out for the uncle and Donal but it all comes out well.  Even better than well.  That made me smile as the book ended.  Too bad he won't be around to write more.  I better check out his earlier books and see if I missed any other treats.

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