Wednesday, February 19, 2014
Book Review: Road to Bountiful by Donald Smurthwaite (Whitney Finalist 2013)
Author: Donald Smurthwaite
Enjoyment Rating: ***
This book would be rated: PG
Loyal is an old man. He buried his wife some time ago, and now he's doing the responsible thing-- leaving his home in South Dakota to live in a retirement community near his daughter in Utah.
Levi is a young man, a college student who has spent the summer bagging groceries with precious little to show for it. So when his aunt offers to pay him to drive her father from South Dakota to Utah, he plots the quickest route to the cash.
But over the course of the journey, Loyal's slow pace begins to rub off on Levi, who starts to see the journey as an adventure rather than a job.
Smurthwaite is a gifted writer. His sentence structure and pacing are excellent, and he knows how to say what he wants to say in order to get a reaction. I was delighted by the early chapters of the book. However, as the narrative continued, I found myself less enamored with the story, which felt sentimental and simplistic. I can see how readers who read to be uplifted or to have their emotions stirred would like this story, but I felt that Smurthwaite had the writing chops to make it better and more complicated with less overt motivations.