Book Review: All I Have In This World, by Michael Parker

All I Have In This WorldAll I Have In This World by Michael Parker
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I really liked this one. A story of an aimless man who can't seem to Be where and when he needs to Be, and a woman who has been running from her past.

The story starts in 1994 with a teenage Maria, living in Texas, who is dating Randy, who loves her. Randy has a souped-up Nova and in addition to loving Maria, and passionately working on his car, he is willing to hang out in the driveway and spend time jawing with Maria's dad, Luis, which is, at the time, a major annoyance to Maria. A series of events leads to a tragedy, in response to which Maria's family fractures even more than it already had.

In 2004, Marcus, a middle-aged man from North Carolina, is running off to Mexico in his F150 with $10,000 he has managed to squirrel away after losing to the bank the educational center dedicated to the Venus Flytrap and other carnivorous species of plants he had built, using his family's long-held home place as the collateral on the loan. In the process, he also loses his sister's portion of the inheritance.

While all of this is going on, a Sky Blue Buick Elantra is manufactured in 1984. The Buick has its adventures along the way leading its destination at a used-car lot in Pinto Canyon, Texas, as the lodestar for Maria and Marcus.

This is an honest book. The tension between a mother and daughter who want to have more with each other but just don't know how is so real. The awkward meeting up of a brother and sister who haven't seen or spoken to each other in 10 years, not because of any big fight or anything, but just because of how life happened. It ends right, with some real resolution and redemption, even though it may not be how we expect a novel to wrap things up.

This is a low-key story about families that aren't the Brady Bunch, and how love can be, but not be shown, how living is more than existence, and family can be more and less than skin-deep.

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