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The Rhythm of the Road

by Albyn Leah Hall

The only American thing about Jo is her mother, whom she has never met. Jo’s flawed and drug addicted mother abandoned the family shortly after Jo's premature birth and returned to America. The gentle, melancholy Bobby Pickering loves his baby daughter, and takes her with him everyplace. Jo grows up in the front seat of her father's truck, and shares his love of country music, junk food, and the open highway in England and Ireland.

Cosima Stewart is an American country singer whose band is touring England. Bobby and twelve-year-old Jo pick her up hitch-hiking one day and become dedicated fans. But Bobby has dark silent moods that lead him, finally, into total despair and tragedy. Jo is discovering her sexuality and is pursuing her independence in a journey filled with teen angst and uncertainties. She nurtures an infatuation with Cosima and her band, and talks Bobby into taking her to their shows. Then, when Bobby apparently commits suicide, Jo attaches herself to Cosima and the band, following them to America and all the way to California in search of the self she can't find.

This story is the unsettling study of a young woman trying to escape from her uncertainties and deal with emotions that spiral downward to the brink of insanity, culminating in an unpredictable outcome. Albyn Leah Hall's debut novel is a compelling story that will stay with you long after you have read it; a very insightful work of literary achievement.

The Book

Thomas Dunne Books/St. Martin's Press
January 9, 2007
10: 0312359446
13: 978-0312359447
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NOTE: Review 1

The Reviewer

Beverly J. Rowe
Reviewed 2007
© 2007