Review From User :
Okay so when I first stumbled across this as a deal on Amazon and read the blurb I was more inclined to pass it by than to pick it up. I honestly did not think I was ready to deal with a burned out teacher and recovering alcoholic who is still dealing with the tragic loss of his son. This did not exactly sound like uplifting fare, but after reading a couple of reviews on goodreads that raved about it, I bit the bullet so to speak and grabbed it.
Thank you Goodreads!
This story is so fantastic and while yes, it does feature a burnt out school teacher who is a recovering alcoholic dealing with the loss of his son, it is so not about that, while still being about just that. Confused What I am trying to say is that while the book does not focus on these elements, over the course of the story, amidst the trips to the national parks, culminating in Yellowstone, other life events are reflected back to the reader through the eyes of the man who is all of these things.
August Schroeder spends his summers on the road in America visiting the various national parks and outdoor nature reserves of this great land. This year he plans to go to Yellowstone, a place that both he and his late son Phillip wanted to visit. On the way, with his feisty little dog Woody as co-pilot, the RV breaks down and August fears that the cost of the repair will prohibit him from reaching Yellowstone this year. Little does he know that the mechanic who is making the repairs has problems of his own, problems that involve the care of his two sons Seth and Henry. A deal is soon struck between the two men and August, with his trusty dog Woody, together with Seth and Henry head out on the road to visit Yellowstone with other stops planned enroute.
And it is on this trip that the story soars. Seth is a very serious lad who takes his own responsibility for the things that happen around him way too seriously for his age. He is so cautious and concerned about how his own behaviour is affecting August, he can scarce relax and enjoy the bounties of the trip. Henry is another responsibility that Seth takes upon himself. Henry is quiet and shy, making himself as small as humanly possible, while still actually being with them. Point of fact is Henry does not speak at all, except perhaps maybe just to Seth but August has not seen any sign of that either.
In an effort to get these boys to relax and enjoy nature's awesome bounty without coming across as preachy or overbearing August adapts a gentle, friendly, non confrontational approach that is ever mindful of the responsibility he has accepted. As Seth and Henry begin to unwind and become more comfortable with him and begin to actively participate in the adventure, the tables slowly turn and August finds himself gaining as much sound practical advice as he is giving. He also learns a great deal more about their home lives and how it was that their father was prepared to make the unheard of deal with August that he has.
Never preachy or maudlin and without even a hint of saccharine this camping trip builds a foundation on which the boys will build the rest of their lives while providing August with enough emotional sustenance to see him safely to shore.
An incredibly heart warming camping trip through America's stunning parklands and outdoor reserves . An absolute must read.
5 fan freakin tastic stars!
August Shroeder, a burned-out teacher, has been sober since his 19-year-old son died. Every year he’s spent the summer on the road, but making it to Yellowstone this year means everything. The plan had been to travel there with his son, but now August is making the trip with Philip’s ashes instead. An unexpected twist of fate lands August with two extra passengers for his journey, two half-orphans with nowhere else to go.
What none of them could have known was how transformative both the trip and the bonds that develop between them would prove, driving each to create a new destiny together.