"AM I YOUR MOTHER?" The headline screams out to Sarah from the pages of the personal ads. Suddenly seized with an "emergency feeling," she abandons her husband, Barrett, and their six-year-old son, Stephen, to search for her biological mother in rural Pennyslvania. Barrett, convinced through intuition that Sarah has gone to Santa Fe, deposits Stephen with his in-laws and sets off in hot pursuit. From these separate journeys begins a chain of events in which individual memories send a family in desperate search of itself--and the shattering truth that awaits them.... From the author of Closing Arguments.
I was pleasantly surprised to find Lizzie Bean again in LONG WAY FROM HOME. She's a free spirited independent soul who first
Families and adoption are recurring themes in the fiction of Fred Busch, but they never wear thin. Busch's main interest is always the bond between parents and children, whether adoptive or natural, and he plumbs his subject effectively yet again in this book. The title comes from the old folk lament, "Sometimes I fell like a motherless child ... long way from home." There are elements of Hansel and Gretel, with witches and ovens and stolen children here. There are mysterious potions, gingerbread boys and girls, and there are even sly allusions to sticking pins in dolls. Like the woods in Hansel and Gretel, this story is dark, deep, frightening - and riveting. (There is also some kinky, pseudo S&M scenes here too, a subject Busch's imagination excels at. His CLOSING ARGUMENTS was drenched in it.)
But whether he is channeling Mother Goose or Marquis de Sade, Fred Busch is always - more than anyone else - Fred Busch. Like so many of his early books, LONG WAY FROM HOME will keep you up long past your bedtime, compelled to know what happens next. Great stuff!
My one complaint? You don't really get to know the characters well enough to understand their motives or really care. Except Stephen. Little five year old Stephen is exactly how you would expect a boy with a mentally unstable mother and a neutered father. Only grandmother Lizzie remains a solid, reliable presence in his life.