Things haven’t gone well for Mark Antonelli, a failed young writer with a grim future. So he puts together a plan…. Mark buys a beat-up old tour bus and hires an ex-vet to be the driver, and he plans to drive/ride across the country. He places ads in newspapers along the route and will pick up a few passengers to join him on the journey.
But this is not a typical site-seeing tour. Mark will screen all the potential new passengers and only those ready to cash it in … to give up their mortal coil … will be riding the bus. Mark’s plan for the end of the ride is to drive the bus off a cliff in San Francisco for a beautiful sunset view as they crash into the ocean.
New friends will be made, and lost; new romances will blossom; there will be multiple betrayals; police chases; politics in play; and a surprisingly ‘feel-good’ atmosphere despite the aura of pending suicide from cover to cover.
Not many authors could get away with writing a novel about a group of strangers who come together in order to end their lives sooner rather than later; take control of when they choose to see the end; and wish to ‘go together.’ J. Michael Straczynski is one of those few who can.
Because there is a very mellow attitude toward suicide here, I was very concerned about the potential appeal here to students, an area where there is already too high a rate of suicides every year. But then I thought,’ Ah, Straczynski will clear it all up and show us the dark side of taking one’s own life, and why it’s better to keep living later in the book.
Warning: People die. By their own hand. It’s almost glorified (it is certainly accepted). It is not made to be a terrible thing. For those who’ve known suicide – either family or good friends – this is not a book you will want to read.
And yet…! I really liked this book.
I know I’ve repeated this quote before, but this is a good time to bring it up again. Decades ago, I attended a convention with science fiction author Theodore Sturgeon as guest of honor. He was asked what the difference was between writing a short story and writing a novel (other than length). His response has stuck with me: A short story is about things people do and a novel is about people who do things.
I think about this a lot when I’m reading and writing reviews, and I’ve realized that the novels I’ve liked the most are definitely those that are about people – and people who draw me in. This book definitely fits this description. By all accounts, the people here wouldn’t normally capture my attention, but I really felt as though I got to know these people. I came to understand why they were on the bus. I came to root for them, or to boo them – depending on what Straczynski wanted from me – and, yeah, I liked this book.
Looking for a good book? If you want a good, general fiction read, J. Michael Straczynski’s Together We Will Go will bring you along on a journey with some other heretofore strangers who get to know one another just before their plan to meet their end together.
I received a digital copy of this book from the publisher, through Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review.
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Together We Will Go
author: J. Michael Straczynski
publisher: Gallery/Scout Press
hardcover, 304 pages