A Review of: "The Roads We Take"

Most of us have heard of J. D. Salinger, and the famous novel: “The Catcher in the Rye.” In fact, that novel (1951), and the author, Jerome David Salinger, who has since died (1/27/2010) at the ripe age of 91, has been a mainstay in high schools across America for what the novel deals with: complex issues of innocence, identity, belonging, loss, and connection (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/J._D._Salinger). But that was then; this is now.
Author, Ethan Edgewood is a new writer of the modern age, having written his first novel “The Roads We Take” (2016), and I might say it deals very much with some of the same “complex issues” of innocence, identity, and so forth, except not in high school. In fact, as with many young people in their twenties, today, this is quite frankly a whole different perspective. 

While Salinger deals with a young person of the upper class, whose inexperience is still more experience with money, place, environmental and social mores, our protagonists in Edgewood's novel is much more to deal with those who were not as fortunate to be born with a silver spoon in their mouths. On the contrary, these characters are born most likely in a low class apartment and having no education to speak of at all. 

Yet, this novel is a very good assessment of today’s young people who are looking for direction in their lives. Probably a good read for the college level young adults, starting out, who may not come from the wealthy climate as does the novel of Salinger's "Catcher in the Rye," depicts. I might venture to say that at present, there are many more students who can relate to this novel of Ethan Edgewood, than that of Salinger's.
What is different–and yet, the same–is the nostalgia, and sometimes poignant truth of the difficulty of getting through life’s lessons as a young person: either one grows, or falls short and into trouble, and that is the biggest theme of all, how taking one road can lead a way that helps one progress, or another road, that can lead the way you do not want to go. 

The excitement is in the trip, where two young men full of youth, restlessness, and mischief, find themselves wondering what might happen if they take a road trip and decide to give it a go. Metaphorically speaking, aren't we all on a road trip? Especially the road trip of youth toward adulthood.
During the timeframe of a week on the road, the reader finds out who these two young men really are, and what makes them do what they do, on which roads they plan or don’t plan to travel, and why.
Perhaps some may say the story’s been told, but one must remember, every story in the world has been told: it takes a good storyteller to tell it again, and from the author's eyes and heart. 

And this is what I’ve found. J.D. Salinger might have died, but he may have been reincarnated in Ethan Edgewood. If not, Ethan has a good grip on Salinger’s style, albeit, not exactly the same in semantics, syntax, and grammar, but close enough to say this author, Edgewood, knows how to tell a story, make the reader a part of that story, and makes the reader think about those thematic truths within the story, whether we’ve heard it before or not, without our ever knowing he's talking to us about the reality of life's hard lessons and how we deal with them.

 I liked it, and I loved reading about the angst of and sometimes tormenting choices in youth and human progress. To read it, one might find a wide ray of hope in humanity, once again.


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