Tuesday 6 October 2020

Book Review ~ Homeward Bound by Richard Smith


Troubador Publishing

My thanks to Ben at Cameron Publicity and Marketing for my copy of this book

George is a recently widowed seventy-nine-year-old. He nearly made it as a rock star in the 1960s and he’s not happy. Tara is his teenage granddaughter and she’s taken refuge from her bickering parents by living with George. Toby is George’s son-in-law and he wants George in a care home. 

George has two secrets. 1) He’s never revealed why his music career stalled. And 2) No-one knows just how much the disappointment of opportunities missed still gnaw at him. He craves one last chance, even at his age. When it presents itself, through the appearance of a long-lost distant relative - whose chequered past should set alarm bells ringing - he can’t resist. 

For Tara, living with her grandfather is a way to find her own path and develop her own musical ambitions. She isn’t prepared for the clash between different generations and living in a strange house full of her grandfather’s memories – and vinyl records.

They get off to a shaky start. George takes an instant dislike to the sounds from her bedroom that seem more suited to Guantanamo Bay than anything he would call musical. But as time plays out, they find there are more similarities – neither know how to operate a dishwasher – than differences, and parallels across the generations slowly bring them to recognise their shared strengths. But when Toby inadvertently sets in motion a chain of events, it leaves Tara with the same dilemma her grandfather faced five decades before with the same life-changing choice to make.

What did I think about it..

Old meets young in this delightful story which looks, with a rather wistful eye, on all those idiosyncrasies which comes with great age. Seventy-nine year old, George is recently widowed and misses his wife so much that he can't imagine how he will manage without her, and to be honest, neither does his daughter and son-in-law who seem determined to encourage George to go into the, horrendously named, Last Days care home. However, Last Days is devoid of any sort of joie de vivre so George prefers to stay in his own home where he stores his vast record collection. As a compromise, George's teenage granddaughter, Tara, moves in with him and it soon becomes a case of who is looking after who in this lovely family saga.

Homeward Bound allows a gentle glimpse into the mindset of all George's family, from his complicated relationship with his daughter and son in law, to the love and empathy which shines through from eighteen year old Tara, there is never a moment when the story doesn't pull you into every aspect of George's rather special life.  George is a great protagonist, his slightly off beat character comes through and I found that I was laughing out loud at some of his antics whilst at the same time sympathising with him on the frailty of his impending infirmity and the loss of everything he once held dear. 

Heart warming, life affirming and gently poignant Homeward Bound captured my attention. I found myself singing along to Simon and Garfunkel's song of the same name as I read George's story.

About the Author

Homeward Bound is RICHARD SMITH’s first book, at age 71. While the story is entirely fictional, George’s record collection really is Richard’s. He lives in London.

Before embarking on his new writing career, he was a producer of TV commercials, sponsored documentaries and educational and promotional films. It took him around the world and into places not normally accessible to visitors - up to the top of the Elizabeth Tower to see Big Ben strike twelve, on a speed boat around the Needles and North Sea oil platforms, and to the Niger Delta in Africa . . . to name but a few. Worryingly two of them were featured in a British Library annual exhibition, 'Propoganda'!


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