Tuesday, June 21, 2016

As Good as Gone by Larry Watson

He's desperate.  His wife needs surgery and is going to a hospital in another state.  His teenage daughter will be OK at home alone, but his son is only 11.  When the daughter is at work, his son will be unsupervised.  He decides to bite the bullet and ask his estranged father to stay with them.  He has no idea if he will or not...

Algonquin Books and Edelweiss gave me the opportunity to read this book for review (thank you).  It is being published today.

Calvin is an old cowboy, living in a small trailer out on the prairie.  He's all by himself and he likes it that way.  He doesn't even have a dog.  When his son shows up out of the blue, he's suspicious.  When he finds out why, he wants to say no, so he has no idea why he says yes.

Calvin walked away from his family when his wife died in a car accident in France.  She had gone home to see her family and never made it back.  So the first thing the son does is get a promise he won't take off and leave his grandchildren alone.  He makes that promise.  The son is going to regret asking for it.

Calvin deals with problems just like he used to during his cowboy days.  He succeeds in one task he takes on (saving his granddaughter from a stalker) but he fails at another.  Part of that was his fault.  He assumed a set up he found at the garage was done by a man his son was evicting but it was actually his grandson that did it.

I was hoping for redemption, reconciliation, and a happy ending.  What I got was the tale of a man who has isolated himself and not changed since his prime.  There's no place for old cowboys today.  This book shows you why. It's an interesting look at how things change and how many remain the same.

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