Bookwoman: A road trip with a LOT of detours

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“The Lincoln Highway” by Amor Towles

Newly released from a juvenile detention facility, Emmett Watson returns to his family’s Nebraska homestead. Only his little brother Billy is left there, and the two hatch a plan to travel along the Lincoln Highway to California in hopes of finding their mother.

Almost immediately their plans go awry. Two of Emmett’s fellow inmates show up at the farm. They hijack his car, stranding Emmett and Billy on the first day of their planned trip. Instead of heading west, the two are forced to ride the rails going east as they search for the car thieves.

The plot only gets more convoluted as the brothers encounter hobos, rich ne’er-do-wells, orphanage directors and other assorted characters. Eventually, they reach not the end but the start of the Lincoln Highway — Times Square in New York City.

I had long-awaited the release of this book. I loved Towles’s two other best sellers — “Rules of Civility” and “A Gentleman in Moscow.” Though this third novel is getting excellent reviews, I was disappointed in it. I worked through 575 pages and felt manipulated by the author throughout. All I can do is hope the next one will better meet my expectations.

Kerry Pettis is a retired elementary school teacher and children’s librarian who has lived in Broomfield since 1975. Reading is her favorite occupation.