Friday, May 21, 2010

Review -- The Journey Home

The Journey Home
By Michael Baron
Publisher: The Story Plant
Release Date: May 11, 2010

Joseph, a man in his late thirties, awakens disoriented and uneasy in a place he doesn't recognize. He sets out on a journey to find his home with no sense of where he's going and only the precious, indelible vision of the woman he loves to guide him.

Antoinette is an elderly woman in an assisted living facility who has retreated inside her head. There, her body and mind haven't betrayed her. There, she's a young newlywed with a husband who dotes on her and an entire life of dreams to live. There, she is truly home.

Warren, Antoinette's son, is a man in his early forties going through the toughest year of his life. With far too much time on his hands, he decides to try to recreate his memories of home by attempting to cook his mother's greatest dishes and eat them with her.

Michael Baron is a new author to me, and what a treasure it is to discover an author who has written such a poignant and incredibly moving story. The journey that Joseph, Antoinette and Warren are on goes in a direction that I was definitely not expecting. Sometimes detours can be wonderful things.

When Joseph awakens in a house full of strangers with no memory of anything but his name, he is understandably confused and upset. Although the people are friendly and offer him nothing but compassion and help, Joseph feels the need to leave, beginning his journey to a home he cannot remember. He is soon befriended by Will, a seventeen year old boy, who offers to drive Joseph wherever he wants, to search for the wife and home that his memory cannot completely recall.

Antoinette is suffering from Alzheimer's and continues to withdraw from those around her. Ever since her husband died five years ago, her life has not been complete. Her world now exists in her mind, where she is young and vibrant again and enjoying life with her beloved husband. The "real" world holds no appeal for her any longer.

Warren's marriage is over, he's lost his job and his mother has Alzheimer's: not exactly the best time of his life. He's searching for a way to reach his mother, so he decides to use the amazing dishes she used to cook and prepare them for her himself. Cooking always brought his mother such pleasure, and Warren hopes that by sharing these homemade meals, Antoinette may find joy again. But Warren discovers so much more than he could imagine with this experiment.

Jan smiled and sat back in her seat, her eyes sweeping him up, as they so often did. "I was going to say that I could taste your mother's love for you in it." The comment affected Warren especially strongly. Since he'd begun replicating the food Mom served, he'd thought about the fun she had creating these culinary monuments to family and friends. Now, though, he flashed back on the look of excitement in her eyes when she presented his plate and told him the name, or the pleasure she reflected when he would subsequently request the dish. She desperately wanted him to love this food, because if he did, he was accepting much more than nourishment from her.

The love between a parent and child, the passion and love between husband and wife, and the friendship and compassion between virtual strangers weave together in The Journey Home to form a bond that can never be broken. This is a story that will tug at your heart strings, bring tears to your eyes, and having you reaching for your family and friends to tell them how much you love them. And it may just make you want to head to the kitchen to whip up some homemade goodness to share with those you love. As Joseph observes, "Life was far to short to eat badly."

~ Gannon


  1. Oh my god, that sounds like a beautiful book! Not a classical romance, but sometimes I love to read things that are rather uncommon. I'll absolutely have to order this one once I get home again.

    Yes, get home, because I'm on the verge of going on holidays 'til next Thursday.
    Maybe some of you realized that the important me (haha) has been absent for a long time. The reason is, I wrote my final exams in the last two weeks and simply had a lot to learn. After my holidays, I'll be busy trying to catch up with my reading (and thus refreshening my English a litte; I never would have thought, but you really do forget your vocabulary - or at least you're slower - when you don't read English stuff regularly; but I'll have an entrance exam on June 14 where I'll have to translate stuff, so I must be fit again until then).

    Yeah, I'm looking forward to reading again. And this book will definitely be part of me post-exam-time; it sounds so heartwarming an d beautiful, I just must have it. :)

  2. The premise of this book sounds awesome. Thanks for the review.
    Love & Hugs,

  3. Welcome back, Lisa! This is really a lovely story--I'm sure you'll like it.

    Enjoy your holiday!

  4. Pamela, I really enjoyed this book. It makes you realize what's important in life.

  5. I agree with Lisa, this does sound like a beautiful book. Kind of like the book I was telling Andrea about "Light From Lucas".

    I am going to share something personal here with you all: my dad is in the beginning stages of dementia and it tugs at my heart to think of what the road will be like for him, for Mother, for all of us in the next few years. Your review of the book is wonderful, Gannon, and makes me want to read it and cherish the love, family, and life God has blessed me with.

  6. Well, like everyon else has already said, this sounds like a delightful read. Thanks Gannon!

  7. Deb, my heart goes out to you and your family. My husband's grandfather had Alzheimer's, and it is such a tragic disease for everyone involved.


  8. Buffie, it's a short book, but packs a powerful punch.

  9. Thanks, Gannon! The Journey Home sounds like a beautiful story and I look forward to reading it.

  10. Deb, my step-mom has advanced Alzheimer's. It's a difficult road to travel. My prayers will be with you and your family.

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  12. This sounds like a lovely story. We often forget the comforts found in the simplicity of everyday things. Cooking for your family can be a necessity, but it can also be an act of love. I think back on the times I stayed with my grandmothers and spent the afternoon baking or helping with a big meal. I think of the times I spent with my own children teaching them to cook, making holiday cookies, making loaves of teddy bear bread for their teachers, fixing special family meals. There are special memories attached to them. Now I spend time in the kitchen with my grandsons teaching them to cook and making more memories.
    My mother-in-law had Alzheimers and many times she was lost in the past. It was a happy place for her, so why not cook dishes from those times and reenforce those memories.
    Thank you for bringing this book to my attention. It will be one I look for.

  13. Librarypat, I have so many wonderful memories of cooking with my grandmother! I think that enjoying food with family and friends is one of life's simple joys.