Tuesday, 1 January 2019

RETRO REVIEWING: Last Bus To Coffeeville – J. Paul Henderson

It might be a New Year but for this old blogger its business as usual! Published in April 2014 this book seemed to celebrate the older generation. It was very funny in places.

It would be untruthful of me to say I didn’t enjoy this book because I did. Although initially I was sceptical of making a funny story out of Alzheimer’s and dementia. I am not sure how I would feel if I were close to persons with these conditions.  I remember reading The Rosie Project and being quite upset as my nephew is an Aspergers sufferer.
But I applaud the emergence of fiction that has older people as the protagonists. It is something that is gathering momentum within the film industry, I’m thinking of The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, Away From Her, and Quartet. And it can only be a good thing within the literary industry.
I did have some laugh out loud moments reading this but if I were to take the book as a whole there are flaws.
I’ve been critical in the past of novelist who introduces characters purely as tools to further the plot. They remain one-dimensional and you seldom engage with them. But this is something Mr. Henderson could never be accused of!! It seems that every character that was introduced brought their life stories with them, but, interesting as they were, it takes the reader away from the main narrative in a way that made the reading process fragmented. As a reader you were unsure of the direction you were being required to follow, the supposed main narrative or the story of the character you were reading. It was almost a book of short stories where each tale morphed into the main storyline.
To begin with I found some of the writing style amateurish in places especially some of the dialogue but as the novel gained momentum so did the quality of the writing. 
The ending had me laughing and crying especially the epilogue which was so predictable yet really funny at the same time!! 
But underneath all of this were some thought provoking issues about the morality and humanity of ending the life of another.

This is a book well worth reading.

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