The Way Home is a book I picked because of a recommendation on TV Book Club and because George Pelacanos is one of the writers on The Wire – a show I’ve never seen but heard consistently good things about so often that I probably will one day.
The Way Home is another book about crime that’s not really a crime thriller. It follows Chris Flynn who as a young teenager gets himself in trouble with the law and finds himself in a youth prison. Later as an adult he becomes involved once again with the world of crime but this time attempts to keep away from it.
I enjoyed this book. It builds slowly but by the end I was gripped. What could have been written as a straight-forward crime thriller became a brooding meditation on the effects of crime on young boys and men – and their families.
But that sounds a bit analytical. The thing I enjoyed about this book was that it put a crime story in the context of a person’s relationships. It wasn’t just a question of “what will happen? will they get the bad guy?” it was “what’s this going to do to his mum, dad, girlfriend?”
I did get the feeling there were cultural references I was missing and the street language was unfamiliar to me. Which was fine but left me definitely feeling I was on the outside of this world looking in – as Brit, a white guy, a middle class man who’s never had or been in that kind of trouble. Maybe that was the point – after all reading is about looking through someone else’s eyes into their world right?
The ending’s one of downbeat optimism if that makes any sense – which it may if you read it.
8/10 – interesting read which gets better the nearer to the end you are.
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