Saturday 8 April 2017

Book ~ "Niagara Motel" (2016) Ashley Little

From Goodreads ~ Set in the early 1990s, eleven-year-old Tucker Malone - the only child of a narcoleptic touring stripper - believes his father is Sam Malone, the Boston barkeep who regularly appears on Tucker’s TV screen. He and his mother move from motel to motel until, one night in Niagara Falls, his mother is hit by a car after falling asleep in the street.

Tucker is sent to live in a youth group home where he meets Meredith, a pregnant sixteen-year-old with hopes of her own; he convinces her to join him on a road trip across the border to America in order to find his father, which takes them from Boston to the west coast. Along the way they encounter some of the most notorious criminals of the 1990s and arrive in Los Angeles just as the Rodney King riots are unfolding. 

Eleven-year-old Tucker Malone and his mother, Gina, were born in Paris, Ontario.  She was a teenage unwed mother who has been traveling back and forth across the country since he was born looking for work as an exotic dancer or escort.  In the early 1990s, they head across the country from British Columbia to Niagara Falls, ON, where she hears there is lots of work.

Gina has narcolepsy and is hit  by a car one night after falling asleep on the road.  Tucker has no family or friends and can't stay at the Niagara Motel, their home, alone so is put in a group home for older teens.  He becomes best friends with Meredith, a pregnant 16-year-old hooker.  His mother has never told him who his father is and he has always assumed it was Sam Malone from the TV show, Cheers.  He convinces Meredith to take him to Boston so he can find Sam, who will instantly realize that Tucker is his son, perhaps marry Gina, and they will all live happily ever after.  Unfortunately things don't turn out has he hoped.

This is the first book I've read by this author and I enjoyed it.  Tucker knew wasn't deal with the best of hands in life but he went along because he this was his life as he knew it.  It was obvious that he and Gina had a strong relationship and really cared about each other.  Tucker believes that the only thing missing from his life is his father.  It is written in first person perspective in Tucker's voice.  I sometimes find children in books annoying but Tucker wasn't.  I liked the writing style and could definitely hear Tucker's voice.  As a head's up, there is swearing.

As Tucker and Meredith hitchhike across the USA, they are picked up by strangers.  It wasn't until the end when he is picked up by a infamous Canadian couple that I thought maybe the strangers in the States weren't actual strangers but I didn't get the references (and I didn't go back to Google them when I was done).  Tucker and Meredith get caught up in the violence right after the Rodney King beating and the author didn't sugar-coat it.

I look forward to reading others by this author.

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