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The Rhythm of the Road: A Novel [Hardcover]

Albyn Leah Hall

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Book Description

Jan. 9 2007
The mesmerizing debut novel about driving trucks, loving music, and growing up.
A truck driver's daughter who grows up in the front seat of her father's truck, Jo shares her father's love of country music, junk food, and the open highway. Jo's life is a perfect slice of Americana, except that their "open road" is in England, and her father--the gentle,  melancholy Bobby Pickering--is from Northern Ireland. The only truly American thing about Jo is her mother, whom she has never met.
Jo is twelve when she and Bobby pick up hitchhiker Cosima Stewart, an American country singer whose band is touring England. They become dedicated fans, and Cosima, touched by the unlikely duo, comes to regard Jo with an indulgent, even sisterly, eye.
But when Jo is sixteen, Bobby sinks into serious despair and Jo seeks refuge in Cosima and the band. When Bobby disappears, Jo's adoration becomes obsessive as she follows her idol all to the way to California. Here, in the sweltering Mohave Desert and alone for the first time, Jo must face the painful truths of her own life, the mother she has never known, and the father she can't force from her mind. With shades of Zadie Smith and Mark Haddon, Albyn Leah Hall's powerful debut is a page-turning study of what frightens us about one another and ourselves; of how we run away and what we can't, ultimately, escape from.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Thomas Dunne Books; 1 edition (Jan. 9 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312359446
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312359447
  • Product Dimensions: 23.9 x 16.4 x 2.6 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 522 g

Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

Raised on the road, Josephine Pickering loves her truck-driving daddy, Bobby, even though his sometimes-dark moods make him go silent. The only parent she's ever known (her mother abandoned the family shortly after Jo's premature birth), he lives and breathes country music and takes her with him on his truck routes though the U.K. where he picks up pretty hitchhikers, like singer Cosima Stewart. Jo, now a teenager, is discovering her sexuality and her independence, which isn't the easiest thing to do without a mother. She nurtures an infatuation with Cosima and her band, gets Bobby to take her to their shows and glows under their kindly attentions. When Bobby bottoms out the day after Jo loses her virginity to Cosima's boyfriend, Jo falls apart: she follows Cosima to California and spirals dangerously out of control. Her crackup, though, has its bonuses. Despite her violent outbursts, Jo is never malicious, and her most shocking acts are, in the end, a cry for love and for help. With its echoes of memories, country music and the love between a father and a daughter, Hall's debut manages to be both poignant and unsettling. (Jan.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From School Library Journal

Adult/High School—Jo Pickering was abandoned by her mother at birth and raised by her father. Bobby, a truck driver, takes his daughter with him everywhere as he attends to his routes in England and Ireland. Once a guitar player, he has a habit of picking up hitchhiking musicians. When he picks up Cosima Stewart, a country-western singer from Texas, the impressionable 12-year-old becomes infatuated with her and her band. Jo convinces Bobby to attend one of the woman's performances and becomes starstruck when Cosima and another performer take her under their wing and teach her how to apply makeup and dress like they do. But Jo's attachment soon becomes a compulsion. She is desperate in her search for something that Cosima and even Bobby can't give her, and she spirals downward into increasingly destructive behavior. Events come to a head when Bobby mysteriously disappears and Jo must find ways to deal with her feelings of total abandonment. This is a compelling read about a strong girl determined to survive in a world that has not been kind to her. As Jo makes some serious mistakes in her search for love, she begins to see herself in a different light. This impressive first novel is strongly written—the characters' emotions feel genuine, the dialogue is believable, and readers will care about Jo.—Catherine Gilbride, Farifax County Public Library, VA
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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I was twelve years old when Cosima first rode with us. Read the first page
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