The Way to Schenectady
Publication Date: October 3, 1998
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Twelve-year-old Jane Peeler is about to embark on a summer ritual: the family car trip. Along with her two younger brothers, Bill and Bernie, Jane will endure traffic jams, singalongs, and fights over who gets the window on a two-day car trip to New England. With help from her Walkman, it may not be too bad, even if her chain-smoking, grumpy grandmother is coming along. But during a stop at a gas station, the kids meet Marty – a kind, penniless old man with a problem. How will he get to his brother’s funeral in Schenectady the next day? Jane would like to help him out – but how? Bringing a friend along on holiday is one thing, but a total stranger?
Readers will delight in the hilarious detours the Peelers must make to get their newest passenger, and themselves, to their destination on time.
A columnist and novelist, Richard Scrimger grew up in Toronto, always writing but never really considering it a career, until after the birth of his first two children, twins, when he discovered the only time he could seriously write was during their naps. His style clearly demonstrates the influence of his experiences as a waiter in Toronto’s upscale restaurants, and as a stay-at-home father to his four children.
Genuinely witty, his work can be described as multi-dimensional - comic elements ride upon the surface, supported by varying levels of seriousness underneath.
Columns detailing Richard’s adventures in parenthood have been published in The Globe and Mail, Chatelaine, and Today’s Parent, and were compiled in a collection titled Still Life with Children. His first adult novel, Crosstown, was a finalist for the City of Toronto Book Award. His first children’s novel, The Nose from Jupiter, won the 10th annual Mr. Christie Book Award, was selected as an A.B.A. Kid’s Pick of the List title, and was a finalist for the Ontario Library Association’s 1999 Silver Birch Award.
Richard Scrimger is also the author of The Way to Schenectady about the adventures of the Peeler family on the road; Mystical Rose, an adult novel; and a sequel to The Nose from Jupiter entitled A Nose for Adventure. In 2001 Scrimger published Bun Bun’s Birthday a picture book illustrated by Gillian Johnson, and a Peeler Christmas story called Of Mice and Nutcrackers. He and his family live in Cobourg, Ontario.
“A rollicking great read.”
“There are moments…that are snort-out-loud funny.”
“A hilarious account of a family’s car trip that captures the tradition, friction, and inevitable detours that accompany this annual summer ritual…At times the dialogue is so snappy that one senses there is a well-choreographed play just beneath the surface of the novel.”
–Quill & Quire