Sunday, October 23, 2011

Call Me When You Land by Michael Schiavone

On the brink of her fortieth birthday, Katie Olmstead is in no mood to celebrate. Still tending bar to support a stalled art career, she continues to struggle with her temperamental teenage son, C.J., who wants less to do with her every day. When Katie gets word that C.J.'s estranged father has died and willed C.J. his Harley-Davidson, the gift quickly becomes a wedge driving C.J. and Katie even further apart.

With the past parked in the driveway of their New England home, C.J.'s increasing outbursts and Katie's self-sabotage resurrect memories of Katie's own troubled childhood, one plagued by a mentally ill mother and a neglectful father. As Katie's notion of motherhood is tested, her artistic ambitions dwindle and she begins to feel like an imposter amongst her seemingly refined neighbors.

Suddenly faced with a bullying, overachieving sister she hasn't spoken to in years, an on-again, off-again boyfriend she just can't love, and a drinking habit that's spiraling out of control, Katie finds support in an unlikely place-- her eccentric and ailing great uncle, Walter. From his room on the third floor, Walter watches over them, encouraging both Katie and C.J. to do the work they fear in order to redeem their family.

A beautifully written family drama, Call Me When You Land offers an astutely observed portrait of a broken family striving toward repair. Out of his protagonist's despair, debut novelist Schiavone extracts humor, compassion, courage, and offers insight into the deeply human determination to survive.

My Thoughts:
Call Me When You Land is a story of a dysfunctional family. The mother, Katie Olmstead, is a deeply troubled woman, an accomplished artist and a woman with a drinking problem that she denies. Her son, Cal, a 15 year old full of angst. Then there is Uncle Walter, who is dying of cancer and a sister who she rarely sees. This group of misfits just try to get through day by day. Then Katie's husband, who left her when Cal was a baby, dies and leaves something for Cal as an inheritance. This novel is so well written that I could really feel for the characters. It is a story that sounds depressing but really isn't and the story just gets to the readers own emotions. There were times when I wanted to shake Cal and teach him some respect, I felt at times that Katie needed to grow up and smell the coffee, literally and quit the drinking, I of course know that this is a difficult thing to do. I read this book in a few nights and enjoyed it very much.

I received this book from Marissa DeCuir at JKSCommunications and was not monetarily compensated for my review.


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