Reviewer: Lori Graham
Title: Rhythm of the Road
Author: Albyn Leah Hall
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Release Date: January 2007
Year/Setting: 1980’s and 1990’s/England and the U.S.
Overall Rating: 2-3
Sexual Content Rating: Sexual
Language (Profanity/Slang) Rating: Moderate
Violent Content Rating: Minimal
Albyn's Website: www.albynleahhall.co.uk
Josephine (Jo) certainly lives an interesting lifestyle. Her father, Bobby, is a truck driver in England and she rides along. When they are home, their life is somewhat normal but then again they are rarely ever home.
Following their route one day, they happen on a hitchhiker, Cosima Stewart, and welcome her aboard. They make fast friends as Cosima is a singer/songwriter and Jo and Bobby love country music. Even after they drop Cosima off at her "gig," she remains a part of their life, both in the music they play while on the road and in the times their routes coincide with her gigs and they can stop awhile.
As Jo turns 16, she begins to see the world in new ways and ask new questions. Bobby unfortunately is becoming rather depressed for a lively teenager to question him…well…you can see the issue. Jo turns Cosima and her band. Cosima and a friend show Jo how to wear makeup, how to do her hair and how to view herself. Because she is so excited by the things they are showing her, Jo becomes just a bit obsessed and follows them to California when the band moves across.
There is also another story happening which is about Rosalie and Bobby (Jo’s parents). Bobby is also in a band (to start) and Rosalie sees him perform. Rosalie arranges to meet Bobby and the two become a couple and the couple becomes pregnant. Marriage is a way to start but their marriage is rocky and eventually Rosalie takes off and leaves Bobby to raise their little girl.
As the stories come together, Jo has to deal with understand her parents’ lives, what happened and what the future holds.
I have to admit that I really struggled with Rhythm of the Road. I had two main issues. First the majority of the book is written from an English standpoint. Most of the time I can immerse myself in another culture but the words used in this manuscript made it difficult for me to truly get into the part. Second, I struggled with the format of the manuscript. Ms. Hall went back and forth between the 80’s and the 90’s as she intertwined the story of Jo and her father along with the story of Jo’s parents. Just about the time I would get a handle on one set of lives, the switch would happen going back to the other set of lives.
Now that being said, I did enjoy the rawness of the characters. Jo is a young woman trying to find her way into adulthood and in some ways she is almost more mature than her parents. I like the style used for creating the scenes and could almost feel the time "on the road in the big truck."
All that being said, however, Rhythm of the Road was a bit too tough to stay on top as far as characters and time period which meant it wasn’t a really enjoyable pastime.
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