Road Ends

Road Ends by Mary Lawson was the perfect book to read while battling snowstorm after snowstorm, bitter cold and even an ice storm and power failure to add to the mixture. Anyway, back to the book. Set in the 1960s in the fictional Northern Ontario town of Straun, we focus on 3 members of the Cartwright family: father Edward, son Tom and daughter Megan. Mother Emily and young son Adam are secondary characters, yet at the forefront of what is probably the most dysfunctional family I’ve read about in years (with the exception of The Glass Castle – but that was a memoir.) While Emily has baby after baby and slowly slips further and further from reality, it rests on poor Megan’s shoulders to keep the house running and the family fed. The book opens her escape. She wants out of this environment so decides to take a friend up on her offer to come visit London. Brother Tom is suffering from his own demons. Living in a small town, memories of a tragic event involving his best friend are everywhere and Tom just can’t get beyond them. And Dad Edward, oblivious to how his family is falling apart, hides in his study at home, preferring to absorb himself in his books rather than deal with the mess (physical and mental) on the other side of that closed door. The chapters alternate between Edward, Tom and Megan, and this works really well. Sometimes we’re up to our knees in snow,other times were in the swinging 60s in London. I liked this book so much I didn’t want it to end. Lawson is a wonderful writer. Her stories flow easily, have depth and feeling, and it’s easy to see why her other books won such wide acclaim. I  hope this one does too. It’s a great read.

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