Back Roads (Paperback)
Berkley, 9780451212450, 352pp.
Publication Date: June 1, 2004
Funny and heartbreaking, this New York Times bestselling debut perfectly captures the maddening confusion of adolescence and the prickly nature of family with irony and unerring honesty.
Harley Altmyer should be in college having the time of his life. He should be free from the backwards Pennsylvania coal town he calls home, with its lack of jobs and no sense of humor. Instead, he’s constantly reminded of just how messed up everything is...
Harley’s mother is in prison for killing his father, so he’s in charge of bringing up his younger sisters and working two jobs to pay the bills—and that doesn’t leave a lot of time for distractions. But lately, he’s getting more and more sidetracked by lusting after Callie Mercer, his middle-aged neighbor. As he struggles to keep it together, things begin to spin out of control. Soon Harley finds that as shattered as his family is, there are still more crushing surprises in store.
“In Harley, O’Dell has created a hero who’s heartbreakingly believable; like Holden Caulfield, he uses caustic humor to hide his pain. Readers will care very much about him and his future, if indeed he has one.”—St. Petersburg Times
About the Author
Praise For Back Roads…
An Oprah’s Book Club Pick
A Main Selection of the Book-of-the-Month Club
“An intense story of family, frailty and dysfunction, set in the coal-mining towns of western Pennsylvania...captivatingly told.”—Chicago Tribune
“Tense...involving...deftly captures the voice of a teenage boy who's in trouble.”—The New York Times Book Review
“A page-turner...gritty, funny, sexy.”—Chicago Sun-Times
“Poignant...achingly beautiful prose...remarkable.”—San Diego Union
“Nearly impossible to put down.”—The Denver Post
“Outrageously unconventional...a very funny book.”—The Baltimore Sun
“Do not miss this one.”—Mademoiselle