Peaches Packer swore she didn't burn the house down. And because of the accident Peaches and her brother Matthew bought an almost new RV called The Bounder. The RV salesman was surprised that two individuals each weighing around 300 pounds would be comfortable in a motor home. This wasn't a worry for the Packers. The adventure started out as a lark. But quickly the voids in their lives gnawed their way into the escapade. What Peaches really wanted was a man to love and take care of her. But, recently divorced, she wasn't sure how to find one. Matthew wanted someone in his life too and it wasn't his sister.
Forced to face the reality of Matthew's desires and the ominous need to take responsibility for a theft, Peaches relies on her own ingenuity to jumpstart her life. She ultimately strengthens her self-esteem and forges a brand new direction.
“Pull up a soft chair and get cozy and join Peaches and Matthew on an unusual and endearing road trip. A fun read!” –Judy Reene Singer, author of Horseplay, Still Life With Elephant
“This is a fun-filled read. No one should miss...hilarious, witty and poignant. From cover to cover I was thoroughly charmed and entertained!” –Laura Liller Kracht, author of The Tango Dancer
“A fast funny slice of Americana. You’ll fall in love with Peaches and want to give Matthew a big hug. To read The Long Way Home is to be happy!” –Maria Paoletta Gil, author of Back in Belmont
"An amusing, sometimes frustrating read, The Long Way Home has a cast of hard to love characters in the form of two siblings, Peaches and Matthew and their aunt Blossom who are amusingly and profoundly inept at life." -The Millers' Tale
Linda Gould just appeared at the BookExpo America/BookCon 2016.
Available on NetGalley
Average rating from 9 members
An amusing, sometimes frustrating read, The Long Way Home has a cast of hard to love characters in the form of two siblings, Peaches and Matthew and their aunt Blossom who are amusingly and profoundly inept at life. Taking the form of the classic American road trip- although they don't get terribly far- the siblings are cooped up together in an RV after their house burns down: Peaches *might* have been responsible for that but she is not admitting to anything. And this is all part of Peaches challenging personality. Gould has coped well with writing a character who is an absolute turn-off: she is pathologically self-centred, stupid, lumbering and absolutely refuses to take personal responsibility for anything at all. And alongside this, she is possessive to a fault which comes from a wellspring of insecurity that finally allows the reader to feel some sympathy but it is a fine line. At times I hated her. The caper is an amusing one as Gould slowly develops Matthew's character and allows him to emerge from Peaches - and Blossom's- shadow although he too needs a kick up the ass from time to time. Again, this is a fine line that Gould walks and she just gets away with it. Any more calamities and the reader might have been tempted to give up on the pair of them. The story is wrapped up a little swiftly, a little breathlessly and left me feeling that Peaches had been allowed to get away with too much: I didn't have faith in her redemption and turnaround. It seemed as if Gould had run out of pages and steam and thought 'that's enough now, I need to wrap this up.' However, on the whole, this is quite a caper and would make a great film- Rebel Wilson should play Peaches,. for sure.
I enjoyed this book. Peaches and Matthew find themselves in a situation that Peaches may or may not have orchestrated. The way that they see themselves in the world is very different than most people would see them. They are both very large, but seem to think that they are small and very nimble. I did not like the way this novel ended. I felt like we were waiting for Peaches to finally have to pay for her actions and she is instead rewarded .
Matthew and Peaches are an adult brother and sister. Following a fire that destroys their home, they buy a motorhome and move into it, intending to drive around seeing the country. They have some money from a life insurance policy that their father left them, which they carry around with them in a suitcase. Apparently, they don’t trust banks. They buy everything with cash. Matthew and Peaches are also both large individuals. Peaches is 260 pounds. Matthew is heavier. Peaches is divorced, looking for a husband and a job. Matthew has a girlfriend and a young daughter already, but he’s not married yet. They travel first to Niagara Falls, with a stop to visit their cousin, Marlene, who is in prison for bank robbery. They haven’t seen her for eight years, so they bring her an assortment of gifts. After Niagara Falls, they end up traveling with their aunt Blossom, Marlene’s mother, to Washington D.C. The story moves along as a good pace, but I found that I was somewhat annoyed by the behavior of the siblings. They don’t seem to make very intelligent decisions along the way. She’s 40 and he is 42. The fact that they pay cash and carry around large amounts of money in a suitcase is problematic. That kind of behavior would make them targets for crime in the real world. They also eat a lot of food. This seems like it should be true, given that both characters are said to be large. However, the amounts of food they eat are not realistic for anyone to consume, even someone who weighs 260 pounds. For example, in one scene, Matthew eats two Big Mac hamburgers. In another scene, after they buy their RV, they buy four shopping carts full of food to fill the tiny vehicle’s limited storage cabinets. Then, they have a dinner of tomato soup and a couple of frozen pizzas. After that, they are still hungry. This does not make sense to me as a biologist since the human body has mechanisms to tell itself it is satiated, so these characters should not have still been hungry after eating all that. This story just didn’t work well for me. It’s my personal opinion, but I’d rather read about characters who make good decisions or make mistakes, rather than trying to get inside the minds of characters who are outright unintelligent to begin with. These characters make plenty of mistakes, but they also bumble through the entire novel doing really dumb things. It’s like they are the most unaware couple who have ever wandered the roads. They act like their entire worldly experience has come from watching television, which is particularly annoying for me. I am adamantly anti-TV and refuse to own one, so I suspect that my own prejudice against television colors my ability to look at these characters with an open mind. I did not find them to be believable because they are so socially and mentally inept. The fire is suspicious and it seems like the impact on the characters minimal. They take it so lightly, as if it was a mere inconvenience. They travel in a much disorganized manner, getting lost and finding parking lots in which to spend the night. This could have been a good lead-in to address issues of homelessness and the harassment homeless people endure just to find a safe place to sleep. Yet, the story glosses over this and makes in into a comical thing, with Peaches talking her way out of trouble with the police. Peaches conveniently finds a valuable ring in the RV after they buy it, and this does not become an issue. The previous owner does not come looking for it at all. Peaches and Matthew and Aunt Blossom are all rather incompetent individuals. Peaches is very selfish and makes all the decisions and tends to somewhat bully her brother into doing what she wants to do. Matthew is not good at standing up for himself and just lets himself be drawn along for the ride wherever Peaches wants to go. Aunt Blossom comes across as a character who has not been out in the world much at all, despite her age. She believes the Capital Mall in Washington, D.C, is a shopping mall. Not one of them can read a map. Although the characters are all portrayed as being of low intelligence, somehow Peaches managed to embezzle $8000 from her former employer. The characters seem to be living life by the seat of their pants without plans for the future, until they finally begin to think about the future about halfway through the novel. That’s when Peaches decides she wants to find a husband and Matthew decides to try to settle down and be a father to his girlfriend and child. It is at this point where the characters seem to exhibit some growth as people and make changes in their lives. It was just incredibly frustrating to me as a reader to watch their bumbling efforts throughout the first half of the story. I am really not sure where the author was going with this. Maybe trying to show that anyone can make a change for the better in their life? I still wish that these characters had been portrayed in a more sympathetic or realistic manner.