For years, guitarist Quinn Porter has been on the road, chasing gig after gig, largely absent to his twice-ex-wife Belle and their odd, Guinness records-obsessed son. When the boy dies suddenly, Quinn seeks forgiveness for his paternal shortcomings by completing the requirements for one of his son's unfinished Boy Scout badges. For seven Saturdays, Quinn does yard work for Ona Vitkus, the spry 104-year-old Lithuanian immigrant the boy had visited weekly. Quinn soon discovers that the boy had talked Ona into gunning for the world record for Oldest Licensed Driver. Despite himself, Quinn picks up where the boy left off, forging a friendship with Ona that allows him to know the son he never understood.
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This novel's characters were so real to me, and the story tugged at my emotions in a realistic (not sappy) way. The spirit of the boy seemed to pervade everyone and the ending was very satisfying. Highly recommended.
The story revolves around the impact an 11yo boy scout has on several adults and how each individual's love for that child connects them to each
It's a different sort of love story that's uplifting without being saccharine and hopeful without being maudlin. Recommended, highly.
Ona Vitkus is a 104 years old Lithuanian immigrant. She has been selected by the local Boy Scout troop to
But when one weekend when the boy doesn't show up, and his father Quinn, a hard-luck musician who has never really connected with his son, appears in his place. Ona feels hurt and disappointed that he abandoned their relationship and their quest but she finds out that he did not abandon her, but died suddenly and Quinn is trying to take up the responsibility of his son.
I do not want to spoil the book for anyone so I will stop here. The story is a wonderful exploration of relationships, both familial and chosen. It will make you smile and it will make you sad. This book explores those relationships, the feelings that go with them, the decisions we make and the decisions that are forced upon us.
Ona and Quinn are remarkable characters with secrets, desires and complex emotions. Even though the boy, who is not named and is not physically present in the whole book, his presence in the lives of the characters changes them forever. This is a wonderful book that I am surprised has not received any reviews or accolades for 2016. A great read and I recommend it to anyone who likes to read about life.
I received a copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.
I just loved it.
Only reason I did not give it five stars is it had to end.
The young boy dies unexpectedly and in steps his father, Quinn to complete his boy scout assignment with Ona. Quinn had not been the best father to his son. He saw him twice a month for dinner and it was always awkward. Quinn forges a friendship with Ona that allows him to get to know the son he never really understood. Ona and Quinn build a friendship that benefited them both. Ona felt the presence of Quinn's son and her own lost son through Quinn's visit. Ona thought Quinn was a gentleman and it make him want to be one. Ona helped Quinn to restore his sense of duty and willingness and hope for the future. "He thought himself finished with hope, but here it was again that urgent, nearly spiritual ache-an open wound looking for balm." By the end of the novel, Quinn says, "He had not loved his son enough. This knowledge lived like a maliginancy in his heart." "I did fall in love with my son, but not until after he was gone."
By Monica Wood
Narrated By Chris Ciulla
Published 2016 by Dreamscape Media, LLC
10 hours and 33 minutes
I received a free audio copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
The first thing that really stood out to me as I was listening is that the
As a whole, the story was both heartwarming and entertaining but I had difficulty with the interviews. Periodically throughout the book, we get to hear the boy’s taped interview of Ona for his school project. Instead of being a typical question and answer type of interview, this interview was essentially a one-sided conversation with Ona where the listener had to infer what the question was by how she answered. I found this style to be very annoying, awkward and distracting. Again, I’m sure the author had her reasons but the absence of the boy in the taped interaction felt impersonal and cold.
The narrator, Chris Ciulla, really brought Ona’s character to life. His pronunciation of the Lithuanian words was impressive and the slight accent he used with Ona was endearing. He also performed the character of the “boy” in a way that revealed the enthusiastic and curious nature that made him so special. All of the other characters, however, sounded essentially the same.
The ending was not predictable.
Just trust me, and read it!
Monica Wood has penned a heartfelt, endearing story of friendship between a young boy, and a 104-year-old lady that ripples out to the boys parents. They share an affinity for world records, and also share in loss.
There are a few unnecessary characters and plot threads, but all-in-all a charming read.
I thought it would be a story about a 104 year old ladies life, but it was so much more than that: it was about the boy who awoke her life spirit again; about the father who still loved his ex-wife, and who did not quite manage to connect with his son while he was alive; about a mother's devastation about losing her son, and her history with his father and desire to return to herself.
I found it awkward at the beginning, because initially the reader is not told why the boy was not visiting the old lady, and the old lady was also not informed by the father. It had a stilted beginning, but once past it, it offer a lot.
A shy, unaccomplished 11 year-old Boy Scout visits 104 year-old Ona to assist with chores and record her history, as part of an exercise to earn a merit badge. Ona is Lithuanian and sharp as a tack. She’s lived in the U.S. since 1913, was married to a dull, unloving man for nearly three decades, but has nevertheless lived an interesting life. After the boy’s passing, his father Quinn takes over. First he takes on the chores, and eventually he fills a void which the youngster’s passing has created.
Quinn is in many ways the focus of the story. He performs chores around the house for Ona scrupulously at first, before their relationship gels into a friendship. Quinn’s marriage has fractured - twice - but Ona observes Quinn’s continuing devotion to his ex-wife Belle. She finds she admires Quinn’s perseverance and kindness, and allows him to pursue her plan to re-qualify for her driver’s license. This license is a wonderful trope by Wood, a hard encapsulation of Ona’s determined will to continue to function normally despite her age.
“The One-in-a-Million Boy” has such a big heart: it has space for everyone’s ambitions, everyone’s failings, everyone’s redemption, everyone’s love. I recommend this book as heartily as I have before for Wood, one of my favorites. “My Only Story” is superb, “Any Bitter Thing” gratifying and balanced, but “The One-in-a-Million Boy” takes the cake. A multiple award winner, and my new favorite among Wood’s oeuvre, be sure to take this one up!