Yesterday Road by Kevin Brennan

Yesterday RoadYesterday Road by Kevin Brennan

Description from Goodreads

In this “coming-of-old-age” tale, Jack Peckham finds himself on a journey into his distant past, helped along the way by Joe Easterday, a young man with Down syndrome, and Ida Pevely, a middle-aged waitress with her own mountain of regrets. Jack has a hundred grand in cash that he can’t explain, since he can’t remember yesterday much less forty years ago. Setting out from Northern California for “points east,” he gets lost, carjacked, abandoned, and arrested, but he’s always homing in on the one object of his inner drive — home. With humor and plenty of unexpected turns, Kevin Brennan’s second novel is a lyrical and poignant story of memory and identity, of how it is the whole of experience — pain and regret along with love and pleasure — that gives life its fullness. We all tow our histories behind us as we make our way down Yesterday Road.

I gave this book five stars out of five

My thoughts:

Having heard such a lot about this book, I was very excited to be asked by the author to review it. I have to say, I was not disappointed. I enjoyed this book immensely. I thought that it was exceptionally well written, with a thought provoking, intelligent, and original plot. It was well paced and a real page turner.

I felt that this was the classic journey of discovery, but with one important difference. The character on the journey, to regain his memory of the past, was the one character that ultimately would not actually discover his history. He would simply be unable to retain that information. The supporting characters would be the ones that made the discoveries in this instance.

The main characters, Jack, Joe and Ida, were interesting and diverse in background, and the relationships built during the course of the story were fascinating. It was interesting how these relationships developed differently for each of them, being one sided since Jack could not remember anyone from longer than a day or so ago. So for him, the relationships were purely temporary. I found it very easy to connect with and relate with the main characters in the story.

Despite no backstory for the protagonist, Jack, he still seemed a very full and round character. His innate character and actions were what gave us information about him rather than descriptions of what he was like and his past. I also liked the humour that the author injected into what was a rather sad, but nevertheless uplifting story.

I found myself imagining what it would be like to not be able to remember anything past yesterday and how that would affect me, ultimately getting into a rather convoluted philosophical debate with myself about whether I would actually notice it, or is it just as an outside observer that I can feel such empathy for this character. I was considering how alone one would be without ones memories to hold onto, to keep them grounded. No fixed points in your life. Not really knowing who you are.

I found it very sad when Jack began to forget things that had happened to him and the people that he had forged friendships with. I found the use of repeated phrases to reiterate points, highlighting that each time he did something it was like experiencing it for the first time again, to be a very cleverly used feature.

The conclusion revealed much about Jack’s past and also gave hope for his future. As I said, I loved this book and I would recommend it to anyone, without exception.

This review is based on a digital copy provided by the author.

15 thoughts on “Yesterday Road by Kevin Brennan

    • Absolutely. I am usually a bit wary of books that I see a lot of hype about, which I did in this instance. However, I have to agree, it was an exceptional read. Definitely one of the best reads of the year.

      Like

  1. I love the way you wrote this review. Concise and to the point, but with real feeling for the story. Are you sure you don’t want all the books I have waiting. You are so much better at this than I am.

    Like

  2. Pingback: Yesterday Road for 99 cents? You betta believe it, baby! | Julian Froment's Blog

Leave a Reply to John W. Howell Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s