Long Drive Home
Life can change in an instant because of one small mistake. For Glen Bauer, all it takes is a quick jerk of the steering wheel, intended to scare a reckless driver. But the reckless driver is killed, and just like that, Glen’s placid suburban existence begins to unravel.
Written in part as a confessional letter from Glen to his daughter, Sara, Long Drive Home evokes the sharp-eyed observation of Tom Perrotta and the pathos of Dan Chaon in its trenchant portrait of contemporary American life.
When Glen realizes no one else saw the accident, he impulsively lies about what happened—to the police, to his wife, even to Sara, who was in the backseat at the time of the crash. But a tenacious detective thinks Sara might have seen more than she knows, or more than her parents will let her tell. And when Glen tries to prevent the detective from questioning Sara, he finds himself in a high-stakes cat-and-mouse game that could end in a lawsuit or prison. What he doesn’t see coming is the reaction of his wife, Liz—a panicked plan that threatens to tear their family apart in the name of saving it.
But what if the accident wasn’t really Glen’s fault? What if someone else were to blame for the turn his life has taken? It’s a question Glen can’t let go of. And as he struggles to understand the extent of his own guilt, he finds himself on yet another collision course, different in kind but with the potential to be equally devastating. Long Drive Home is a stunning cautionary tale of unintended consequences that confirms Will Allison’s growing reputation as a rising literary talent.
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Long Drive Home
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Reading Group Guide
A happily married suburban father makes a mistake that results in a teenager’s death and sends his own life into a devastating tailspin. Written in part as a confessional letter, Long Drive Home is a cautionary tale that explores the moral ambiguities of personal responsibility as it chronicles a father’s attempt to explain himself to his daughter—even though he knows that in doing so, he risks losing her forever.
TOPICS & QUESTIONS FOR DISCUSSION
1. While driving home with his daughter, Sara, Glen Bauer engages in a showdown with a teenaged driver, Juwan Howard, that results in tragedy. Do you think the accident is all Glen’s fault? If not, how much of the blame rests with Juwan?
2. After being interrogated by the police, Glen lies to his wife, Liz, about the accident too: “I waited until we got to the restaurant to tell my version, basically the same story I’d told the police. Somehow, with Liz, it felt like even more of a lie.” (p. 30) Why d see more