When Thomas Flynn leaves his son, seventeen year old Chris, at Pine Ridge, a juvenile prison near Washington, D.C., his heart is broken but his mind is made up: Chris will have to pay for the mistakes he's made. Inside, Chris is exposed to kids from a different D.C. than the comfortable one he knew - one less remote from the street fights, car ...
When Thomas Flynn leaves his son, seventeen year old Chris, at Pine Ridge, a juvenile prison near Washington, D.C., his heart is broken but his mind is made up: Chris will have to pay for the mistakes he's made. Inside, Chris is exposed to kids from a different D.C. than the comfortable one he knew - one less remote from the street fights, car chases, and marijuana deals that got him here in the first place. A decade later, Chris and the friends he made at Pine Ridge seem reformed. Chris has a job, thanks to his father, a girlfriend, and his own apartment. But when he and the others are inadvertently caught up in a burglary, old habits and worse instincts rise to the surface, threatening this new-found stability with sudden treachery and violence. With the drama, compassion, and urgency for which Pelecanos is celebrated, The Way Home travels the streets of Washington, D.C. and tells the story of its people, and the tensions that always linger just out of sight, circling back again and again to that clapboard house on Livingston Street where Thomas and Chris Flynn's rocky relationship moves from distrust and scorn toward a flawed, but real, redemption. How far will a father go to save his son? That question is the beating pulse beneath George Pelecanos's spectacular new novel, a page-turning story of rebellion, greed, and the high price of a second chance.
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The Way Home draws you in quickly and deeply. I couldn't help but sympathize with and become invested in what happened to Chris Flynn and his friend Ben Braswell. Complex and flawed, Chris comes across so clearly and authentically. His regret, his uncertainty and his desire to change make Chris one of the most interesting characters that I've come across in a while. Unlike most of his fellow inmates in the juvenile detention center, Chris came from a supportive middle class family. Upon his release, his parents rallied around him and celebrated his return. They helped train him, find gainful employment and gave him the sense that his life can continue to improve. Part of Chris's sense of disquiet comes from the difference between himself and his fellow inmates. He recognizes that his good fortune and he tries to behave decently to those around him. Chris's best friend Ben had a very different background. Ben's mother had died young from a drug overdose and he'd been in various foster homes until he entered juvenile detention. But since having been released, working for Flynn's Floors with Chris, and with his love of reading, Ben had moved beyond the dark places of his past and "looked forward to learning something new each day."
The difficult and complicated relationship between Chris and his father Thomas Flynn of Flynn's Floors adds to the complexity and richness of the story. Carefully crafted with the numerous plot twists and unusual characters, The Way Home an unpredictable and satisfying read.
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company; 1 edition (May 12, 2009), 336 pages.
Review copy provided by the publisher.
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