That Old Cape Magic, by Richard Russo.
Yes, this is an acclaimed, accomplished author. And yes, he is verbose and can write well. But, no, that doesn’t mean that every story he tells is a good one. And this one was not one of his good ones…
I was going on my yearly vacation to Cape Cod and brought along this book in hopes of it being a great beach read, one that would be fraught with information about the area. Not so much…
The book revolves around a character, Jack Griffin, who is in his early 50s when both of his parents die. He is relatively happily married, has a lovely daughter, a good career and really the only thing in life that hasn’t been pleasant are his parents. But rather than releasing him with their death, he cannot let go and you find out that all along he has had issues dealing with the childhood his parents created for him. He goes to a wedding in Cape Cod for his daughter’s friend and this area being the vacation spot for his family growing up, he decides to bring his father’s ashes with him to scatter. But, instead of burying the past, he unearths some repressed memories, goes through a mid-life crisis, and walks out on his wife. A year later finds him living a new life in LA, with a new woman and coming out to Maine to attend his daughter’s wedding. This time he has the ashes of both his parents in his car and means to drive to the Cape to scatter them both. After a completely unrealistic, over-the-top, disaster of a wedding weekend, he manages to “bury” his parents and rekindles the relationship with his wife.
Should’ve been called “That Old Maine Magic” because The Cape just brought about misery for the characters involved in this book and Maine helped heal and brought hope for a brighter future.
Not a worthwhile read!