Danny Johnson may have done himself a disservice in writing The Last Road Home, as he has set the bar exceedingly high for himself in all future work. Masterfully crafted and beautifully executed, this book draws readers right in and holds them close for the entire journey. Johnson tackles sensitive issues like interracial relationships, family tragedies, and the brutality of combat and its aftermath with an unapologetic yet tactful tone. Those prone to displaying their emotions may want to read this book in private, as the author leaves no emotion untapped. You will laugh, and tear up, and become enraged, and worry right along with these characters.
It takes supreme skill and a hefty dose of talent to break out of the gate in full stride and never miss a step. Johnson makes it look easy as he sets one scene after another, following Junebug from childhood to the jungles of Vietnam with just the right blend of detail to bring it all to life. Each leg of Junebug’s journey adds another layer of richness to the tale, right up until the last page. There is something here for readers of all genres.
Review by Barbara Allen, MWSA Reviewer
From Pushcart Prize nominee Danny Johnson comes a powerful novel that explores race relations, first love, and coming-of-age in North Carolina in the 1950s and ‘60s. At eight years old, Raeford “Junebug” Hurley has known more than his share of hard lessons. After the sudden death of his parents, he goes to live with his grandparents on a farm surrounded by tobacco fields and lonesome woods. There he meets Fancy Stroud and her twin brother, Lightning, the children of black sharecroppers on a neighboring farm. As years pass, the friendship be- tween Junebug and bright, compassionate Fancy takes on a deeper intensity. Junebug, aware of all the ways in which he and Fancy are more alike than different, habitually bucks against the casual bigotry that surrounds them—dangerous in a community ruled by the Klan. On the brink of adulthood, Junebug is drawn into a moneymaking scheme that goes awry—and leaves him with a dark secret he must keep from those he loves. And as Fancy, tired of saying yes’um and living scared, tries to find her place in the world, Junebug embarks on a journey that will take him through loss and war toward a hard-won understanding. At once tender and unflinching, The Last Road Home delves deep into the gritty, violent realities of the South’s turbulent past, yet evokes the universal hunger for belonging.
ISBN/ASIN: 13L 978-1-4967-0249-4
Book Format(s): Soft cover
Genre(s): Fiction, Historical Fiction, Literary Fiction
Number of Pages: 312