Oh I loved this book, mostly because I love a good schlub!! The main character, Smithy, is great. He's an "overweight, friendless, chain-smoking forty-three year old drunk..."...just from that description I was hooked, and had to read the book. It did not disappoint. The story was quirky, moving, sad, joyous, and all things in between, as poor Smithy sets off on his bicycle across the country on a personal mission. Enroute, amid the stories of the people and landscapes he encounters along the way, he reflects back to tell the story of his childhood and youth, his prom, his Vietnam experiences, etc., all the while revealing how his parents and his sister (and one pivitol neighbor) were so instrumental to his life. I love to read "debut novels"--since I believe these are the books that burned the longest in the writer's soul, and this was a debut novel. I highly recommend it, and will definitely seek out others since written by Mr. McLarty.
***** Five stars!
Great story. The pace of the book was like the ride of the main character, slow and steady but very interesting.
I absolutely loved this book, the story of Smithy Ide's bike trip across the United States to claim the body of his deceased, long-lost sister. Along the way we learn about Smithy's tragic family and his life and the series of unfortunate incidents that seem to befall him on a regular basis. Nonetheless, it is a hopeful story of indiviual redemption and you really cheer for our protagonist.
This book started off slowly, and I thought it was odd...but a few chapters in it grabbed my attention and I couldn't put it down. The plot twists and turns were fantastic, and I really cared about the characters. It reminded me of Forrest Gump in a way...a man on a quest.
This was a great book. It was interesting and quirky. Just the way I like it.
Loved it! What a journey this one is. You will be moved as you read.
Awesome story, I read this book very quickly.
I recommend this book to anyone who is drawn to interesting characters, and a plot that keeps the pages turning. It is an emotional read, because one gets caught up in the main character, Smithy, and all that he goes through in the course of the book. My response at the end was, "Wow!" I am really glad I read it.
"Smithy", an overweight drunk who loses his entire family in the course of a week takes on a delightful, soul searching journey across America on a bicycle to find his dead sister. Along the way he encounters a fascinating collection of colorful characters that help him in one way or another with his unintended quest for self-discovery. Wonderful book.
A very good book! Anyone at any time can redeem themselves. Smithy led a sad life. told through flashbacks, you begin to understand why he got off course and the toll that mental illness can take on a whole family. All the love in the world can't save a sufferer from herself. As Smithy begins his saga after the death of his family in a weeks time, you meet the many unwitting participantsÂ in his transformation. Interesting characters all!!! Heart warming, awe inspiring, satisifying!
A very different book. I liked it in the end, but when I started it I wasn't sure. You have to get into it a few chapters.
This book was WONDERFUL! You really got to know Smithy and his family. His love for his sister and the people he met on his journey touched my heart!
This book is sooooo good I don't understand why it's not zipping through PBS. I was completely disarmed by this tale of self-discovery.
Slow read, not one of my faves!
This book is not really about running, but more about biking, and also schizophrenia. The chapters alternate between the present and past back and forth, which makes it interesting. The main character is a sympathetic one, which bodes well for the book. The other characters are developed well.
I wasn't really a fan of this one. It's well written and an interesting concept, but not for me. I didn't care for the main character.
It was interesting to read all the reviews of this book...and there are many under various editions on paperbackswap. Part of me was very surprised to see all the great reviews and I agreed in part with some of them but...I don't know, part of me is ambivalent. I bought this at the discount rack at Borders before I discovered PaperbackSwap (thank you, God!!) It reminded me very much of Forrest Gump. Perhaps you have to be in the mood because it's an introspective reading IMO. That said, I never thought of actually putting it down once I started to really read it. (I'd begun it a few times and stopped when I got more um.... 'instantly gratifying' books in the mail LOL)
I guess for me it was like an uneventful walk on a long, quiet road to no place in particular: there isn't really anything exciting to see but you're not in a hurry to be anyplace else so you may as well plod along and see where it takes you.
I really liked this book...I picked it up on a whim, because it looked interesting. Yes, first chapter or so starts off kind of slow, but then it's a real adventure from there. We see Smithy's life from the past, and his epic journey from Rhode Island to California. Amazing, to see the man who started off smoking and drinking, and changed his life. The character's he meets along the way a very interesting as well. Enjoy.
Beautiful book; brilliant writing.
Wow.........very sad story. Well written, very original characters.
Excellent novel-kept my attention the entire way through
This book provided great fodder for my book group. We spent the entire evening actually discussing the book!
An interesting, well written story.
I enjoyed this book and was capivated by his adventures as he road his bike. He is original and "real".
I loved this book, sad, original, very well written!
Nuff said..takes you on a journey you won't soon forget!
Loved this book, the writing, the adventure, the sweetness of the characters.
I could not put this book down! It was funny, sad, and brought back some difficult memories. All in all a good read.
Wonderful character development, and a touching story of personal growth and rediscovery. Best of all, McLarty, who is a seasoned character actor, reads the book himself on the audio version.
I expected more from the book. It was good and a fast read and I was captivated, but I was just left feeling it ended too easily. There were many stories within the story that held my interest and made it a page turner, but I was a bit disappointed by the ending.
I loved this book. Wonderful story.
Could not put this book down
I loved this book. It was engaging and entertaining, and I really cared about what happened to the protagonist.
I love this book, and have read both McLarty novels. He's a terrific writer!!
I loved this book so much I hardly know where to begin... It had a terrific premise and even better execution... Smithy in some ways reminded me of a less-socially-apt C. which may sound unkind, but Smithy is a noble character and quite heroic in his own way. Honestly, I would recommend this to anyone, really - it was that good. I sill can't get over the fact that the one episode of _Sex & the City_ that he was in was none other than my favorite episode, "Hot Child in the City" - what are the chances?! And the story of how this book got published (he couldn't find a publisher and ended up recording it himself as an audiobook that somehow Stephen King heard and pushed through his own publisher) is a great! All in all, I just loved this book and I sincerely hope he writes more!
READ IT - It resonates
I dont remember where I picked up this book, and when I finally started reading, I was a bit put off by the constant derogatory remarks on Smithy Ides weight. Even Smithy gets into the act.
But as I read on, I realized that Smithy is full of self-loathing but doesnt seem to realize where that self-destructive attitude originates. As circumstances start off horribly wrong for him, he begins a journey that he doesnt understand. Just a need to propel himself across the street on his old bicycle, a once beloved object of his young mastery. Its a rough start but as he awkwardly progresses, memories of his youth return and in the quiet recesses of his mind, he comes to terms with the terrible consequences of growing up in a damaged family. Where all the focus is set upon his beloved and mentally ill sister.
How much can a family give of themselves to try to save someone so troubled? Apparently, if youre not careful, you can lose it all and still not make a difference.
I read this book some 3 months back and it lingers with me still. I believe it to be one of the most loving, confusing, life-affirming novels I have read in a very long time. Quite worth the bumpy bike ride!
Great book: very vivid characters.
Hard to grasp his story line when first starting this book. Wasn't till I was about 3/4 of the way done that I finally was able to really get into the characters and their relationship to each other.
I hadn't heard of this book until I came across it while browsing on PBS. It was a pleasant surprise, well-written with a very lovable and memorable main character. It is a very sweet and lovely book and I could immediately think of several friends who would find this book as special as I did. I highly recommend it.
This was by far, one of the best books I've ever read. I read his next novel, Travler, which was equally good. Happy Reading!
Wonderfully written story of a man shaken to his core by the sudden death of both of his parents. A good read especially for anyone who has suffered grief and trying to "grow up" after the death of their parents.
Excellent read! This novel fascinated me to no end.
I didn't like this book wehn I first started it. I disliked the main character, seeing him as weak and ineffective. As the story matures, I grew to like the main character. The book was pretty good. I especially liked that it was set in Rhode Island, which is nearby my hometown.
This book was so funny! It made me laugh so hard I cried. Ron is a great writer that makes light of being an overweight drunk smoker that takes up riding a bike around the country. I highly recommend this book to others.
Very funny in parts but sad in others
This was a wonderful book. Smithy is a lonely, overweight, alcoholic, chain-smoking Vietnam vet. And yet somehow he is naÃ¯ve. I loved the way his adventures unfolded along with the tragedies and boatload of emotions that he has kept bottled up inside. The story touches on many things and it all ties into catharsis and letting go. A book I won't soon forget!
This is a great book! Loved it and did not want to put it down. Smithy is a great American Hero on a quest. What a wonderful story!
The main character is Larry, he is somewhat of a loser. His parents and sister are all he has, then something happens to change his life, when something happens to theirs. Excellent read
Awesome book. Definite read for anyone from Rhode Island.
This is a really wonderful, character driven story. Smithy's journey across America will one you remember long after you close the cover.
Note: there is SOME wear on this copy but I believe it meets the criteria for posting.
I really liked this book. I found myself thinking about it in between reads. when i got to the end, i wanted to keep reading more!! enjoyed :)
I really enjoyed this book & can't post it yet as I loaned it to a friend
A person who went through so much ( in the book) & came out of it with grace.