Road Ends; Mary Lawson
Dial Press - 2014
Road Ends begins in the mid-1960s, and tells the story of the dysfunctional Cartwright family, Edward, Emily, and their eight children who live in the fictional town of Straun, somewhere around Ontario. Straun a remote town where severe winters are commonplace.
Daughter Megan, the only girl and second oldest child of the family now 21, has decided that she needs to venture out on her own and start living her life and is planning on moving to London. From a very early age she has acted as the head of household, taking on the duties that her mother,. Her mother wraps herself up in fawning over each successive newborn and basically ignoring the rest of her family. With the arrival of yet another newborn son mother, most often can be found in her room with the baby.
With talk of Megan’s decision to leave the nest, the fractured family begins to come apart. Edward, the father, is pretty much a non entity. He was raised by an abusive father and has kept his distance from his own children for fear of losing control. He doesn’t seem to even realize what is happening to those around him. Oldest son Tom has returned home after the death of a close friend, he is depressed and unable to cope with life on the outside.
One character I really felt for was little Adam, just 4 years old and desperate for love, attention and affection, my heart went out to both him and Tom for what they were dealing with. Even Megan, who had dreams of something more, a better life learns that the path to happiness and fulfillment are not always easily attained, and that it is not always easy to cut ties with family either.
The Road Ends is a beautifully written and compassionate but dark story. The cold and desolate landscape adds to the bleakness of the story and depressing emotions some of the characters. It’s a story that portrays a family with all their warts and vulnerabilities exposed. This book is part of a stunning trilogy which I really enjoyed - Crow Lake; The Other Side of the Bridge; and now Road Ends. If you have not tried this author, I highly recommend that you do.