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Bad choices. We all make them, some more than others. Dusty’s choices have left him unemployed, broke and practically homeless. Despite the major issues he has with his family, his only rational choice is to sell everything and move into his parents’ basement. At thirty. Looking for a ride west, he answers a phone ad. The voice at the other end of the line flows like dark, rich honey. Finally something to look forward to—listening to Joe’s voice all the way from Illinois to Idaho.
Rather than the hip crooner of Dusty’s fantasies, Joe turns out to look more like a panhandler. Is that because Joe dresses down, or are Dusty’s preconceptions about Native Americans clouding his vision? Joe is silent more often than not. He has a complicated past and still has amends to make. But he is ready to move on. Dusty feels trapped. Two damaged men, one small car driving two thousand miles into the sun—sometimes things need to break down before they can get fixed.
I love road trip stories. I agree with what Dev Bentham herself wrote in the acknowledgment chapter of this book (“cars are inherently intimate spaces”). I think there is something very intimate when it comes to road trip romance; when it’s just the two characters in a small space, and have to find a way to fill in the time as they are travelling to places. So when Dev Bentham offered an arc copy for this to be reviewed, I just jumped on it without second thought.
And I LOVED it!! I loved how down-to-earth this story felt. For me, Dusty was very human (for lack of a better term). Dusty made mistakes, mistakes that made me cringe at first when I read it. I wanted to jump inside my Kindle, shake him on the shoulder, and say “Don’t do it Dusty! You stupid man”! But then that was how he learned. That is how we ALL learn in life, right? We make mistakes and we learn from them.
I also loved how Dusty thinks. Let’s face it sometimes we don’t always think in “politically or morally correct” ways in real life. It is morally correct to not think about ‘racism’, like when you see someone from a different race and not say things that are stereotypical about them. But at the same time our brain can’t help to do it once in awhile. So in this book, the part where Dusty was trying to figure out what questions to ask that would not racially insult Joe (a Native American) felt very ‘human’ thing to do. That made Dusty a relatable character. He was not perfect. He was just like you and me.
As for Joe Black, there was more to him that meets the eye. I loved his back-story too and I loved how he came to care for Dusty. However, for me, this was mostly Dusty’s story (and he was the main narrator) rather than Joe. I loved both, yes, but it was Dusty that won my heart.
So combine road trips and excitement on the road and how intimate and tender this relationship become as the two men learned more about each other during their trip, Driving into the Sun is definitely my favorite Dev Bentham story so far.
The ending is a bit rushed though – in fact several pages before the epilogue, I still wondered how it would end. The epilogue shows that they are still working this out (especially financially) and it’s not just beds of roses. But that makes the story feel real. It’s the kind of story that I know will continue long after the word “the end” for the two guys and that they will make it just fine.
Title: Driving into the Sun
Author: Dev Bentham
Publisher: Loose Id
Release Date: September 23, 2014
Purchase Links: Loose Id