Friday 20 September 2019

Book ~ "Donna Has Left the Building" (2019) Susan Jane Gilman

From Goodreads ~ Forty-five-year-old Donna Koczynski is an ex-punk rocker, a recovering alcoholic, and the mother of two teenagers whose suburban existence detonates when she comes home early from a sales conference in Las Vegas to the surprise of a lifetime. 

As her world implodes, she sets off on an epic road trip to reclaim everything she believes she's sacrificed since her wild youth: Great friendship, passionate love, and her art. 

But as she careens across the U.S. from Detroit to New York to Memphis to Nashville, nothing turns out as she imagines. Ultimately, she finds herself resurrected on the other side of the globe, on a remote island embroiled in a crisis far bigger than her own.

Part one - Donna is a successful kitchen gadget salesperson and has been married to Joey.  They have two children ... Ashley, who is in university and doing a semester in London, and Austin, who is in high school.  Donna comes home early from a sales conference in Las Vegas and discovers Joey has been leading a secret life.  She tries to adapt to his lifestyle but discovers she she can't.

Part two - After all the years of being a wife and mom, Donna takes off to find the fun and wild person she used to be.  When she was younger, she was in punk rock band and lived that lifestyle.  She jumps in the car and heads off mindlessly.  She visits her university roommate in New York and eventually heads to Nashville to find her first love.  Through all this, as an alcoholic, she has to keep reminding herself (and others) that it's been over five years since she's had a drink but the temptation is still strong.

Part three - When she discovers Ashley is in trouble, Donna heads to Europe to find her and bring her home.

The premise of this book sounded fun.  It was written in first person perspective in Donna's voice.  I was really enjoying the first part where Donna discovers her life isn't what she thought it was.  The writing was fast and funny.  Part two was okay.  The writing was still fast and funny but I had to question some of Donna's decisions.  Part three seemed like it was written by someone else and didn't fit with the first two parts.  Part one and two were crazy, funny and out of control.  Part three was extremely serious and a downer after the parts one and two.  It was a long book and part three could have been dropped and Donna and Joey could have had the same status.  With part three, it was like the author was trying hard to make us aware of a crisis and get us involved ... she should have fleshed out part three into its own book.

I thought the characters were okay.  I liked Donna and it was interesting to take the ride with her to try to find the old fun Donna.  As I said, though, I wondered about some of the choices she made.  Joey was the catalyst that started everything to get out of control and I thought he was a jerk for pushing the blame onto Donna and saying she'd fallen off the wagon and gotten drunk.  I didn't like Ashley ... I know she was young but I found her to be too extreme.

I liked the writing style.  For the most part it was amusing and sarcastic.  As a head's up, there is violence, adult activity and swearing.

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