Books: The Cheapest Vacation You Can Buy

{June 25, 2012}   {Review} A Spy at Home by Joseph Rinaldo

From Goodreads: When Dad becomes the lone caregiver for a dependent adult son, Dad has to answer the terrifying question: What happens if I die first?

A retired CIA operative comes to believe he wasted his professional life not only promoting questionable American policies, but missing life with his family. Suddenly, his wife is gone, and he must learn all that she knew about caring for their mentally retarded son. After a life of planning for contingencies, the former spy must deal with the possibility that he may die before his son. Who will care for the son when the dad spent a life out of the country and now has no one to lean on?


This novel has a very conversational tone, which was difficult for me to get used to in the beginning, but the more I read the more I enjoyed this writing style.  Garrison, the protagonist, explains the story of his life, his thoughts and concerns, while amplifying his outrageous and mostly hilarious interactions as both a CIA operative and a father/husband.  One of Garrison’s main issues is that of how to care for his mentally challenged son, especially with the looming truth that his son will probably outlive him.  This realization, as well as Garrison’s colloquial tone, made the novel very interesting and I enjoyed learning about his difficulties as he attempts to take control of his life as it spins out of control.      

I really enjoyed the parts of the novel that dealt with Noah, Garrison’s son.  How Garrison and his wife Louisa dealt with their little blessing, including how they came to adopt him, his many transitions through life, and his eventual diagnosis with Alzheimer’s was really interesting, and I learned a lot about downs syndrome.  Though I wouldn’t say that this novel is a tearjerker by any means, it does make the reader stop and think, appreciating all they’ve been given.

I think the characterization of Garrison is phenomenal.  He is a very deep character, and as I said before, his relation of his life was mainly hilarious, and I found him very down to earth, though some of his revelations were less than believable.  But overall, I really enjoyed him, and would have liked to get to know the rest of his family on the same level, but then I think it would have detracted from the colloquial, conversational tone of this novel.  Three stars.

I received a copy of this novel from the author in exchange for an honest review.


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