Downtown, Oct 2003, 12.00, 320 pp.
To start her new job working in art restoration for a Boston museum, thirty-year-old Laney plans to drive across the country with the music tapes she created by herself. Laney looks back at how she envisioned this trek with a boyfriend or her close girlfriends, but she has no one to accompany her. However, that solo drive ends when her mother, who was very ill but recovered, flies out to join her so that they can reconnect on the cross-country drive.
At the beginning of the trip, Laney resents her mother's intrusion. However, as they begin to use her tapes and reflect back as to when Laney made them, they share memories that only a mother and a daughter can have.
Up front, this author hooked me when her bio stated she works for the NPR Car Talk show, whose hosts provide one of the funniest helpful shows that is a hit on the radio (a new carburetor every 40 years?). Back to LINER NOTES: The story line is intriguing as Laney reflects back on her life based on the event that triggered a specific tape that she created. She is the center that holds together this road show novel as she searches into her past seeking the answer to why relationships seem to end while her mom just wants to reconnect. The tale of the tapes is fascinating, but at times the numerous tracks can interfere with an intriguing plot, gimmick and all.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner