The Road Trip
Beware. If you’ve read this author’s earlier books or the hype for this one, you may be expecting a comedy. The Road Trip is heavier.
But there is plenty of entertainment to be had here. O’Leary’s writing is clever and articulate and emotional. The characters are varied and nicely drawn, some as adorable as others are tiresome.
The premise of THE ROAD TRIP is simple: Through a series of coincidences, five people end up packed into a small Mini driving from England to Scotland for a wedding. Two of those people – the alternating lead voices of the book – are former lovers barely recovered from the heartache of their breakup. Complicating things, almost everything that could go wrong during the trip does go wrong.
The story alternates between NOW and THEN, filling the reader in bit by bit on the history between the exes, Addie and Dylan. I had no trouble with the switch, though some readers have. My trouble was with Dylan’s best friend Marcus, a secondary but pivotal character, a troubled individual to whom our Dylan couldn’t stand up. I never quite understood why Dylan didn’t just tell him to shut up. The friendship was toxic in so many ways. I wanted to shake the two of them.
As I said at the start, THE ROAD TRIP can be heavy. Dealing with depression, family dysfunction, unhealthy friendship, and love gone awry is downright depressing at times, discouraging and annoying, an emotional tangle of early-twenty-somethings who can’t get out of their own way.
I listened to the Audiobook, which was well-done – actually, too well-done in one regard. The female narrator was Eleanor Tomlinson, who played Demelza in the PBS production of POLDARK. She was too good, a little too large for my air pods. I kept picturing POLDARK.
But. THE ROAD TRIP is still enjoyable. Which says something.