Book Review: “The Home Stretch”

The Home Stretch was originally published late last year.

When I picked up The Home Stretch by Wayne M. Johnston I thought I was reviewing what the press release described as a novel. Turns out, the book is way more autobiography than novel. and I can’t for the life of me figure out what in the text, other than names and places, is fantasy vs. reality. The author’s biography parallels the “novel” in almost every aspect. As a lover of autobiographies, I enjoyed every page.

The Home Stretch was published late last year as a paperback and a digital version is also available. The book covers a lifetime and focuses very heavily on a man’s relationship with his father…a relationship that was hard and over time evolved until, in the end, the father with Alzheimer’s makes the relationship difficult again.

Along the way, the author doubts the religious teachings he was taught as a child,, doubts his place in the world and even occasionally thinks of murder and suicide. Those thoughts evolve with maturity. Finally, when the author is faced with his own mortality through illness, he exhibits an intense will to live and hang on to the good life he has built.

Because the author spent a number of years on a tugboat, reviewers have said his description of the tugboat in a terrible storm is among the best descriptions of such an event ever written. For me, however, my favorite chapter, Seven, describes very pointedly a serious confrontation between the author and his father.

Because The Home Stretch is a sort of stream of consciousness book, moving from subject to subject, a reader may initially be confused, but that confusion is short-lived once the reader realizes how the subjects are disbursed. And of curse, in the end, everything makes sense.

The Home Stretch was, for me a “mature” female, a good read. I think that had to do with the age of the writer (I lived through many of the same years he describes) and because the author had a great narrative style. Congratulations to author Wayne M. Johnston on a book I thoroughly enjoyed.

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