Solace of the Road by Siobhan Dowd
Holly’s story will leave a lasting impression on all who travel with her.
Memories of mum are the only thing that make Holly Hogan happy. She hates her foster family with their too-nice ways and their false sympathy. And she hates her life, her stupid school, and the way everyone is always on at her. Then she finds the wig, and everything changes. Wearing the long, flowing blond locks she feels transformed. She’s not Holly anymore, she’s Solace: the girl with the slinkster walk and the supersharp talk. She’s older, more confident—the kind of girl who can walk right out of her humdrum life, hitch to Ireland, and find her mum. The kind of girl who can face the world head-on.
So begins a bittersweet and sometimes hilarious journey as Solace swaggers and Holly tiptoes across England and through memory, discovering her true self and unlocking the secrets of her past.
My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars
And I was Solace. Solace of the road, walking into a night sky, thumb out and fag in hand…
There’s both a literal and figurative journey in this one for a girl who takes on a personality so different from her own. Holly, her story is sad but not completely tragic. Sad because she’s in foster care and does all these stupid things, but not completely tragic because not once does she get bogged down by what she doesn’t have. She’s always looking forward and thinking about how to get where she needs to go. Because even with most details of her past murky… there’s this one thing that’s made clear: she’s clung to the idea that somewhere in Ireland is her mother, and that everything will right itself once they’re together.
In fact most everything she thinks and does: the nice, the sweet, and even the mean goes back to her mother or more accurately her mother not being there. It’s different this. That even with all that in mind things never went over the top dramatic. It’s all soft, sometimes sad, definitely out there... and brave. Not once did it have drama for drama’s sake.
That’s even with Solace who’s out there and brave and ready for anything. And that’s despite Holly who’s under that blonde wig. It’s Holly/Solace’s story that I’ve been looking for of late. Not really over the top in drama just a girl who thinks she’s got things figured out and doing something about it. Sure, sometimes liking either was next to impossible, but thank gosh that I picked this up.
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