Books

NIGHT ROAD by Kristin Hannah, narrated by Kathleen McInerny

I knew this was going to be a dark novel as the cover and title suggested a tragedy. But I hadn’t expected to read something that was so all-encompassing in its emotional impact.

This novel takes on the all-too-common issues of drunk teenagers driving drunk. In this case, a teenager totaled a very expensive car after going out to a party that the parents knew about. Despite their promises, the teens downed way too many beers, chased with rum.

Car turned over after crashing into an electric pole. Photo 116919737 / Car Crash © Photovs | Dreamstime.com
Cars bursting into flames after colliding at great speed on iced highway.
Photo 12447808 / Car Crash © Tatiana Belova | Dreamstime.com

This whole novel got me thinking about the trap that most parents find themselves in the USA. If, like most parents, you believe in being friends with your children, rather than giving them rules and guidelines to live by, you are probably going to end up with teenagers who think that they can get away with anything. Peer pressure is going to demand that you get your kids their driving licenses ASAP (as soon as they turn 16) and then (if you are a well-off parent,) you should buy them an expensive car with leather seats, seat-warmers, wonderful stereo systems and even a leather-covered steering wheel so they can show off to their friends.

Given all this, what do you do if there is a party on? If you forbid your kids from going, they are likely to be turn on you in a flare of entitled fury, telling you that of course they won’t drink. If you allow your kids to go, you run the risk that the peer pressure of the other teens at the party will turn their sworn commitments to dust, and once they start, they won’t know how to stop. The party will come to an end, the kids will pick themselves up off the ground, and get into their cars swaying drunkenly. By that time their judgement is shot and all they can think about is getting home the most convenient way. And that is how so many teens are killed in this country, by this reckless behavior.

It really is too late to tell your 18-year-old not to drink and drive if you’ve given into their every whim all their life. And so, in this country (unlike in Europe) we have the perfect storm of poor public transportation, entitled kids who are not in the habit of listening to their parents, high schools that are saturated with drugs and alcohol, expensive killing machines, lack of judgement, and a lemming-like desire to be like and liked by their friends.

Memorial site with flowers on the side of the road to honor the victim of a traffic accident. Photo 125424274 / Car Crash © Daniel127001 | Dreamstime.com.

NIGHT ROAD did a brilliant job of delineating this dilemma for the reader. Highly recommended, Five stars. #nightroad #kristinhannah #dui #teenageddrunkdriving #drunkdriving #carcrash

Categories: Books