Night Road by Kristin Hannah 5/8

Sunday, September 11, 2011

I read Night Road before going on holiday and I have to say I wasn't expecting much from it. I hadn't come across Kristin Hannah before and I hadn't really seen any publicity for this novel. I was really surprised to find that a day later I had finished the book and was ready to read it all over again.

Kristin admits to being a 'helicopter mom' hovering over her own son as he grew up and being on hand to assist him in any decisions he had to make; be it his choice of jumper to which university to apply to. With this in mind she builds her story around a wealthy couple Jude and Miles Farraday who are blessed with twins, Mia and Zach. Seeing their children grow up as polar opposites - Mia shy and geeky, Zach sporty, handsome and popular - Jude is relieved when Mia makes a new friend on her first day of High School, Lexi who brings the timid Mia out of her shell.

The story of Lexi, Mia and Zach is both exhilarating and  heartbreaking. It defines teenage pressures and challenges parenting methods adopted by so many loving parents. Jude and Miles have clearly been created from Kristin's own experience with her son and the relationships that they forge with Lexi is a subtle balance between gratitude and caution. A teenage tragedy which can effects many families each year, hits the Farradays and it is Kristin's portrayal of the breakdown of the tight family unit that really tugs at the heart strings.

I think Night Road is really under-rated and its simplistic nature is its best quality. Anyone can relate to this story in some way or another and this is what makes it a classic story.  I give it a 7/10 for its nonconfrontational tone and its ability to remain composed whilst still depicting grief as a healing process.

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