Books: The Cheapest Vacation You Can Buy

{January 11, 2013}   {Review} Driving to BelAir: A Novella by William G. Jones

12461164From Goodreads: Dale had everything—dream job, dream girl, dream life. When he moved to New York to chase his dreams, he never planned on returning to the Indiana farm where he grew up. Yet, one phone call from his ex-fiance brings him back to face the brothers he abandoned and the consequences of the choices he made in pursuit of those dreams. Will a father’s last wish be the key to reuniting a family torn apart by tragedy? Or will Dale lose everything while driving to BelAir.


I’m sorry to say that this novella just wasn’t for me.  It’s very well written, but it read as a fantastically surreal story, with a series events that I just couldn’t fathom as being “real.” From the circumstances surrounding the drugs to the time the characters spend in jail, as well as all the other fantastical events within, I just didn’t see much of the story as being plausible.  Which is okay.  No one said the events have to be true-to-life, or full of drama, but that was my expectation going into this novella.  I was thinking this would be a road trip story about redemption, a serious story with events that bring about change, but in reality, this novella is more like a mash up of crazy events, yelling, fights, hatred, and sheer stupidity on the characters’ parts.  I also had a very difficult time connecting with the characters, which I think feeds in to another reason why I didn’t care much for this novella.  If I had Dale’s family, I wouldn’t have gone to the “funeral” at all.  Now, I know he’s just as much to blame for the problems within the family as the others, but I wouldn’t want to deal with his brothers if it was the last thing I had to do.  As the novella unfolded, I began to dislike Dale’s family a lot, and I even began to like Dale less and less because, in my opinion, none of the characters were likable.  I found them all to be quite selfish and unreliable.  And, the youngest brother, the one who was high all the time, just grated on my nerves.  I think this would be a good, quick read for an audience that finds drug hazed characters or family drama fun(ny), but it’s just not my style.  Two stars.

2 stars

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


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