What’s it about?
For years, guitarist Quinn Porter has been on the road, chasing gig after gig, largely absent to his twice-ex-wife Belle and their odd, Guinness records-obsessed son. When the boy dies suddenly, Quinn seeks forgiveness for his paternal shortcomings by completing the requirements for his son’s unfinished Boy Scout badge. For seven Saturdays, Quinn does yard work for Ona Vitkus, the wily 104-year-old Lithuanian immigrant the boy had visited weekly. Quinn soon discovers that the boy had talked Ona into gunning for the world record for Oldest Licensed Driver — and that’s the least of her secrets. Despite himself, Quinn picks up where the boy left off, forging a friendship with Ona that allows him to know the son he never understood, a boy who was always listening, always learning. The One-in-a-Million Boy is a richly layered novel of hearts broken seemingly beyond repair and then bound by a stunning act of human devotion.
This was our latest book club read and if I’m being totally honest I went into it thinking it wouldn’t be my cup of tea. My mum picked it and she tends to pick crime thrillers or books like Harold Fry and The Woman Who Went to Bed for a Year – neither of these I particularly liked either.
You get the gist of the book from the blurb above but the first thing that I didn’t love was that not one person throughout this book acknowledges “the boy” by his name. I just didn’t get that. At our book group discussion one member said that the author defends this in her acknowledgements in the paperback version but as I was reading the hardback – this isn’t mentioned. I’m also not keen on having bits of the book explained to me in the acknowledgements as I rarely read them but also it seems a bit of a cop out.
In all honesty I really don’t think I understood this book and I do think this is down to me and this being a character driven novel. I much prefer a plot driven book that has pace and will make me feel something more than a bit meh about it.
Having said that Ona is a great character with a wicked dry sense of humour that does make parts of the book really shine. I also had a soft spot for Quinn, the underdog wayward father, where in actual fact I think the author was aiming for the reader’s sympathy to lie with Belle but I just didn’t like or connect with her at all.
Overall, one for you if you like slow moving plots but with deep characters. A 3* read for me.
Author links: Website
Small print for info
No of pages: 432