Back Roads Oprah's Book Club Author:Tawni O'Dell Harley Altmyer should be in college drinking Rolling Rock and chasing girls. He should be freed from his closed-minded, stricken coal town, with its lack of jobs and no sense of humor. Instead, he's constantly reminded of just how messed up his life is. — With his mother in jail for killing his abusive father, Harley is an orphan with the respons... more »ibilities of an adult and the fiery, aggressive libido of a teenager. Just nineteen years old, he's marooned in the Pennsylvania backwoods caring for his three younger sisters, whose feelings about him range from stifling dependence to loathing. And once he develops an obsession with the sexy, melancholic mother of two living down the road, those Victoria's Secret catalogs just won't do the trick anymore. He wants Callie Mercer so badly he fears he will explode. But it's the family secrets, the lies, and the unspoken truths that light the fuse and erupt into a series of staggering surprises, leaving what's left of his family in tatters. Through every ordeal, the unforgettable Harley could never know that his endearing humor, his love for his sisters, and his bumbling heroics would redeem them all.
Funny and heartbreaking, O'Dell's pitch-perfect characters capture the maddening confusion of adolescence and the prickly nature of family with irony and unerring honesty. Back Roads is a riveting novel by a formidable new talent.« less
It was such a surprise how the story of this truly messed-up family unfolded. The narrator's character was so very endearing and the horror of his life was quite shocking. The end seemed a bit unclear as to where exactly Harvey ended up... I am very excited to read her next book... I wonder if any characters will overlap... I hope so!
I especially enjoyed Harley's relationship with Elvis (such a surprisingly common dog name!) and Jody. His mom's character was a bit of a mystery and I would have liked a bit more about what exactly happened the day their whole family changed forever...