This isn’t my first book by Ivan Doig. I read English Creek a few years back and thought it a solid four star novel and Doig an excellent writer. Well, Last Bus to Wisdom took my opinion of Doig to another level altogether.
The story begins when eleven year old orphan, Donal Cameron, is sent to spent the summer with a great-aunt he’s never met, because his grandmother has to have surgery that will leave her unable to care for him. He must ride the “dog bus” (aka Greyhound) from Montana to Manitowoc, Wisconsin by himself. It’s the 1950’s, when this sometimes happened, although probably not very often.
What follows is an adventure and a coming of age journey that left me smiling when I put it down and eager to get back to it every chance I could get. Doig is a master at relating that certain feeling of childhood, when you don’t quite worry about all the “what-ifs,” but you feel frustrated at the “can’t haves.” It’s a book full of awe and wonder and humanity and love. Quite frankly, it’s the best book I’ve read in a very long time.
5 stars (out of 5)
Published in 2015
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