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Review: Mom On The Road by Allyson Primack ★★★

momontheroadMom On The Road, by Allyson Primack, is a humorous look into the life of Maggie Stevens.

When Maggie Stevens turned forty, something unexpected happened. She went on the road as her son’s guardian, who was part of a Broadway show touring America. Maggie doesn’t know what to expect. What she finds is herself.

The most enjoyable aspect of this novel is Maggie. She’s neurotic, insecure, energetic, and entertaining. As she tells her story, she doesn’t hold back, including sharing her experience in a hotel bathroom with a vibrator. The reader is told everything that Maggie thinks and feels. Luckily Maggie is an original character. She’ll make you laugh, cry, wince, and shake your head. At times one may wonder if she has no shame, but that’s a good thing. Maggie does not self-censure and lets it all hang out.

This novel is based on the author’s own journey on the road with her son. During her time on the tour, Allyson Primack documented her experiences on her blog, Mom On Tour. At times, it feels like one is actually reading a really long blog posting, not a novel. Novels usually have characters and dialogue. Mom On The Road includes many different people, but the reader doesn’t get a chance to interact with them. Maggie tells us everything about the people she interacts with in the story. There’s very little dialogue, which is a shame since dialogue helps develop characters.

Some readers may wonder how much of this novel is from her blog. For example, in the novel, Maggie is stuck at an airport due to a blizzard. She’s distraught since she needs to get to her son:

I sat with my head in my hands, crying on the airport floor. Suddenly, a man tapped me and asked me if I was trying to get to West Haven. I said yes and then he asked me if I wanted to rent a car and drive with him to West Haven. I asked him if he was a serial killer and he said no, he his {sic} name was John and worked in finance.

This is the passage from her blog:

I sat on the floor of the airport, defeated, when a man tapped me and asked me if I was trying to get to New Haven. I said yes and then he asked me if I wanted to rent a car and drive with him there. I asked him if he was a serial killer and he said no, he works in finance, and so I said ok.

There’s nothing wrong with turning a popular blog into a book. However, if you promise the reader a novel based on your experiences, make sure you write a novel. A novel requires a different style than a blog posting. Authors should show, not tell. The passage above would be a hilarious and edgy scene in a novel. However, just telling it as it was takes the reader out of the moment. Readers want to feel engaged in a story.

Primack shows much promise as a writer. This book is enjoyable, but it could be so much more if she immersed her readers into the story, instead of keeping them on the sidelines.

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Mom On The Road


 

 

Mom On The Road, by Allyson Primack, is a humorous look into the life of Maggie Stevens. When Maggie Stevens turned forty, something unexpected happened. She went on the road as her son’s guardian, who was part of a Broadway show touring America. Maggie doesn’t know what to expect. What she finds is herself. The most enjoyable aspect of this novel is Maggie. She’s neurotic, insecure, energetic, and entertaining. As she tells her story, she doesn’t hold back, including sharing her experience in a hotel bathroom with a vibrator. The reader is told everything that Maggie thinks and feels. Luckily…

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