Publication Date: February 13, 2015
In Mom on the Road by Allyson Ochs Primack, Maggie Stevens turns 40 and had a sudden need to find herself. Maggie heads out on an epic adventure to rediscover herself beyond the walls she lived between for years.
The author, Allyson Ochs Primack, gave me a copy of this novel in exchange for my review.
I’m going to admit something that may not endear me to the reading public — I have no patience for people who struggle with aging. People will talk about crying when they turned 30 and while outwardly supportive my inner eyes are rolling. Maggie is a character that earns some pretty hard eye rolls. She’s a busy woman and age sneaks up on her and when it does it’s devastating. She’s always been extremely ageist and has assumed that older women want to be her and suddenly she’s them and sure that her life is over. What Maggie has that a lot of women don’t is a rich inner dialogue that is extremely well written and a lot self-aware of her faults.
Mom on the Road is a journal of sorts for Maggie. She gives readers a no-holds-barred access to who she is as a mother and forty-plus-year-old woman. Maggie is a character that Primack knows well. Both she and her main character were born around the same time in Detroit, both were lawyers, and both relocated to Arizona. Whether they share the trait of being strong professionally but are unable to say no in personal life is unknown This mother who has soul-searched is clearly written by an author able to write a realistic soul-searching character. Maggie, when she accepts a role in a theater on behalf of her son, starts a blog called “Mom on the Road.” The author accompanied her son on a tour and recorded the experience on her blog http://momontour.com/ (An interesting and entertaining read infused with the same humor as the book). Having read some of the blog before reading the book, I wondered why Primack had chosen to write a work of fiction instead of a memoir — she also dedicates the book to the production her son worked on — but perhaps fiction allows the author to take her experience in a direction literary devices of memoirs do not allow.
Mom on the Road is a very nicely put together work of fiction. The narrative flow was very stream of consciousness but not in such a way that forces the reader to retrace their steps to find their way back to a point. While rolling my eyes a lot at the beginning, the character at some point became engaging. I’m only a few years older than Maggie and identify with physically starting to fall apart. Things start to happen and God forbid a woman of a certain age who has had children gets sick with any sort of coughing malady. Get the diapers ready!
Mom on the Road is not a fantastical piece of fiction. It is wheels to the road — this is the way life works. As much as the book is about being a mother and supporting one’s child while dealing with the aging process, it’s about who we are at a soul-deep level. Elizabeth Taylor once said that she never realized she had gained weight until she was distracted and glanced at a mirror and looked around her room for the fat lady before realizing that she was alone. Maggie had that “aha” moment regarding her life zipping by. One day you’re starting first grade and the next you look up and you’ve become your mother or grandmother. While some of us may not have that experience regarding age, we all have it at some level.
If you’re looking for a funny, light and yet insightful read, pick up Mom on the Road. It’s a great beach read or to be enjoyed on the road on a long trip or perhaps you have a few moments to read in the sun on the back porch with a cool drink. Give Mom on the Road a try, you won’t be disappointed.
Read an excerpt and buy Mom on the Road by Allyson Ochs Primack today on