Josephine Pickering has grown up on the highways of the United Kingdom, in her father Bobby's rig. Abandoned by his wife shortly after Jo’s birth, Bobby took to the road with his baby daughter. A Northern Irishman, Bobby was a country musician before he became a father and he passed his love of country music and the open road on to his daughter.
When Jo is twelve, her father stops to give hitchhiker Cosima Stewart a lift. Cosima, lead singer of Cosima Stewart and Her Goodtime Guys, quickly becomes an idol to Jo, although over time the idolization turns into obsession. When Bobby finally gives in to the depression which has haunted him for years, Jo follows Cosima’s band to America where she must finally confront the truth about her life and the choices she’s made.
Albyn Leah Hall’s debut American novel, The Rhythm of the Road is a quiet work; full of teenage angst, the desperation to belong and a search for meaning. Hall has created a strong voice for this young woman seeking roots and a place to belong and Jo’s agony is almost painful to experience. While Jo’s spiral out of control is violent at times, Hall never lets the reigns slip from her firm grasp, ensuring that Jo remains an empathetic character.
Although The Rhythm of the Road is the story of Jo’s development into a woman, by far the strongest character is Bobby. His quiet strength balances Jo and Cosima; however, it is the buried pain and words he doesn’t share which remain with the reader. While Hall’s writing in The Rhythm of the Road is at times uneven, she has a manner of character development which means she is a writer to watch.
Publisher: Thomas Dunne Books
Publication Date: January 9, 2007
Author Website: www.albynleahhall.co.uk
tags: books book reviews Albyn Leah Hall coming of age road novel