Wrong Highway by Wendy Gordon
From the Publisher:
It is 1986. Erica Richards lives in West Meadow, Long Island with ther three young boys, newborn baby girl, and successful Wall Street analyst husband. But dont be fooled by her seemingly placid suburban lifestyle. Erica is fierce, curious, uncompromising and often impulsive. When her teenage nephew Jared rebels against his straight-laced parents Ron and Debbie, he turns to Erica for help, setting in motion a chain of events that will take all of them careening down a dangerous and twisty highway. Buckle your seatbelt, crank up the 80s soundtrack, and learn how stunningly easy it is to keep BIG SECRETS.
A cautionary tale about the dangers of "mixing in" - they had me at suburbia in the 80's!
The prologue of the book hooked me in before the story even officially started. A flashback to Erica's youth; an introduction to Wendy's realistically descriptive style of writing. Her characters aren't characters, they're people, and she establishes this in the first 9 pages of her debut novel.
While at certain points in the story I was mentally shrieking "WHAT ARE YOU DOING?" at the main character, Erica, I could relate to her desire to escape the monotony of everyday life as an adult to experience the things that thrilled her in her youth one more time. There are few things in life I would choose dishes and grocery shopping over. However, I wouldn't risk nearly as much as she did to get that rush.
The story itself is simplistic enough in that it's essentially a tale about a suburban family that seems to have it all together from the outside with Sunday Dinners and all, but isn't as polished and perfect as others think. The characters really make it something special as their secrets, hang ups, inability to communicate, and escapism culminate in a series of unfortunate events.
My only hangup, is the length. I'd have preferred a slightly shorter, narrower, highway towards the conclusion. Other than that though, it was a solid story.
Find Wendy and Wrong Highway on the web:
Wendy's Website: http://www.wendygordon-wronghighway.com/