Long Way From Home

Busch, Frederick. Long Way From Home.New York: Ticknor & Fields, 1993.

How to describe Long Way From Home? Part dark fairytale, part family drama, part commentary on mothers and adoption? All of the above. Each section of the book is separated by a familiar drawing of Mother Goose, looking quite witchy. It sets a subliminal tone. But, onto the plot: Pennsylvanian Sarah has been wanting to reach out to her biological mother for some time. An ad promising a possible reunion prompts her to abandon all common sense as well as her husband and son. Husband, Barrett, convinced he knows where she went, dumps five year old Stephen with his New York in-laws and sets off for the southwest. Meanwhile, biological mom Gloria is cooking up home remedy concoctions and getting ready to kidnap her new-found grandson. Each character is obviously searching for something other than the obvious. Each are on a self destructive path.
My one complaint? You don’t really get to know the characters well enough to understand their motives or really care. Except Stephen. Little five year old Stephen is exactly how you would expect a boy with a mentally unstable mother and a neutered father. Only grandmother Lizzie remains a solid, reliable presence in his life.

Line I liked, “You think you don’t leave a trace, she thought, and then you’re found” (p 42).

Reason read: August is Busch’s birth month. Nothing fancier than that.

Author fact: Frederick Busch was a New York man through and through. He was born there and died there.

Book trivia: Grandmother Lizzie Bean appears in two other Busch tales, Rounds (1979) and Sometimes I Live in the Country (1986).

BookLust Twist: from Book Lust in the chapter called “Frederick Busch: Too Good To Miss” (p 48).

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