Woven throughout the book, and at the beginning, is a letter written by a father to his daughter. It is his apology to her and his rendering of the events up to and following a car accident that ended in the death of a 17-year-old boy. It is his “confession” of a “crime”. It is left up to the reader is left to determine whether it was a crime, whether the father was at fault and whether an apology was necessary.
It began with a simple case of road rage, and ended with a dead 17-year-old in one car and a scared 8-year-old and father in another. What follows is the investigation and his subsequent rendering of the events of that night. It is complicated by his feelings of guilt, bu those guilty feelings are more directed at what effects the accident will have on his daughter, not on the family (and especially the mother) of the boy.
While Long Drive Home, by Will Allison, is not nearly the same caliber novel as Crime and Punishment, by Fyodor Dostoyevsky (one of my top 5 favorite books of all time), I found myself being reminded of Raskolnikov’s Extraordinary Man theory. The essence of C&P and this theory was that the main effects of committing a crime were mental and those would manifest themselves physically. This theory wasn’t ever expressed outright in Long Drive Home, but it seemed like the author was hinting at it several time. Unfortunately, he never really drove home the point and it ended up being sort of a let down.
I really wanted to love this book, not even just because of the connection (which may have only been in my mind anyway) to C&P, but because it did get great reviews. Maybe it was just too short, because I never really connected with the father or any of the characters. I never felt like I got to know anyone, so I didn’t really feel invested in the outcome. In fact, writing this review 5 days after finishing the book, I can’t remember how it ended. That’s not good.