Rush Home Road

Rush Home Road

A Novel

Paperback - 2003
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A lonely 70-year-old woman takes in an abandoned girl in this heart-wrenching tale of love and loss set in the black communities of southwestern Ontario.

Rush Home Road , a dramatic début novel by an adept storyteller, was compared to John Steinbeck and Alice Munro and is poised to become beloved by readers around the world. While exploring the rich history of the Underground Railroad, whereby fugitive slaves from the United States found freedom in Canada, it also speaks broadly of motherhood, understanding, the importance of goodness and the power of love.

Rusholme, Ontario, is an all-black town born of the Underground Railroad. Its inhabitants farm land cleared by their ancestors who escaped slavery, and are grateful for modest comforts and richness of life; but for the taint of the bootleggers, it is a strong and peaceful community. At fifteen, Addy Shadd has learned to bake a pie crust better than her mother's, and is happy to pick vegetables in the fields in summer so she can show off her strong, smooth calves to Chester Monk, the young man she hopes to marry one day.

At the annual Strawberry Supper, her dreams go horribly awry. A series of terrible misunderstandings lead to the tragic death of her brother, and blame falls on Addy. Shunned by her family, exiled from the community, she leaves home to find a new life. One refrain fills her head: Rush Home. But she is no longer welcome in Rusholme. Her courageous journey takes her to less-sheltered places, first to Detroit, then Chatham, where she finds a home for a while -- until tragedy strikes again. Addy has learned to accept the tribulations life deals her as merely "what is."

Many years later, in 1978, we meet Addy at 70, living in a trailer park near Lake Erie. She grows flowers and keeps a tidy house, her only company the voice of her little brother Leam, which has stayed with her through the years. Her quiet existence is ruptured suddenly when a neighbour offers to pay Addy to look after her young daughter for the summer. Before Addy can act on her second thoughts, the girl's mother has disappeared, and odd, mixed-race Sharla Cody is Addy's responsibility.

It is not the first time Addy has had a five-year-old to care for, and although long-neglected Sharla has much to learn about how to behave, her warm, grateful presence brings back a deluge of memories for Addy, who carries an unwarranted burden of guilt. As we watch a relationship unfold between the aging Addy and the little girl she chooses to care for, we are transported through flashbacks into the harsh life of a strong woman who endured more disasters than triumphs, suffered through racism and prejudice, but still has faith in the redemptive power of love.

With its depictions of human nature at its most despicable and most admirable, Rush Home Road is heartbreaking but optimistic, passionate but funny, intimate and readable, with skillfully drawn characters and compelling plot twists. Although Knopf Canada was the first publisher to buy the manuscript, a U.S. publisher quickly paid a large advance for the remaining rights to this first novel by a Canadian author, and within two months of acquiring the manuscript had sold it in eleven countries. Shortly after the book's publication, film rights were bought by Whoopi Goldberg, who plans to play the lead role.
Publisher: Toronto :, Vintage Canada,, 2003
Edition: Vintage Canada edition
Copyright Date: ©2002
ISBN: 9780676974515
Branch Call Number: FIC LAN
Characteristics: 547, 15 pages ; 21 cm

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g
greenacres
Mar 12, 2015

Truly unforgettable characters.

b
bettyeathorne
Feb 01, 2015

Really loved this book. So touching.

l
LexiLou2
Mar 30, 2014

Breathtakingly beautiful.

b
becker
Jan 25, 2014

Very good story. Well worth reading.

booker23 Sep 25, 2012

I loved this book. The characters were people that I would likely never encounter in my life but if so, I hope I'd treat them respectfully. An amazing read.

b
bxrlover
Jun 27, 2012

don't know what it is about this seemingly simple story that so completely captured my attention, but a book has to be great to have me thinking about the characters more often than not whenever I am not reading it.

Maybe it's because I love a book about overcoming seemingly insurmountable obstacles, or one that features protagonists that maintain a positive attitude despite desperate circumstances. Or maybe it's just that Lansens writes in such a way as to make you wish her characters were people you could spend time with in real life.

Whatever it is, I suspect that I will miss Addy and Sharla every bit as much as I have missed Ruby and Rose from "The Girls".

l
loribetho
May 30, 2012

A remarkable book! I could not put this down. Aside from the fact that it was written by a woman from Chatham and mentions all of our neighbouring cities it was one of the most entertaining books I have ever read. It is no wonder that Whoopi Goldberg's company purchased the screenplay rights. Lansen's character development is wonderful, you leave this book feeling like you knew the characters personally and know you will remember them for years to come.

k
katharine1066
Jun 06, 2011

Fantastic story.

s
storeylady
Mar 07, 2011

Didn't know anything about bootleggers before this. Makes me want to volunteer at a home for teen mothers. Absolutely loved the scene where Addy bawls out the teacher. Go Addy go!

b
bprospero
Mar 15, 2010

I thoroughly enjoyed this story. A very interesting tale of two lives.

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Misshoney Jan 08, 2014

Coarse Language: very bad language

Misshoney Jan 08, 2014

Sexual Content: There are numerous "love" scenes and rape

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Tiramisuzy
Sep 28, 2015

...Poppa shrugged and told Addy, "Folks judge. If you can say you've never done so yourself, be righteous. If you can't, forgive them, Adelaid, and let's enjoy our chili and some pleasant conversation."

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