Cannonball Read V: Greyhound by Steffan Piper
Sebastian boards the first bus and takes his seat at the back of the bus alone; however, he isn't alone for long. At the first or second major stop, Marcus, an African American man in his early 30 boards the bus and takes the other side of Sebastian's seat. Marcus is headed to NY to see his family after a long time away. Marcus is wise and takes an interest in Sebastian. It's something like paternal, but not exactly, which is important because it forces Sebastian to work a lot out for himself. It's impossible not to see similarities with Huckleberry Finn, but once you get past them, it's a great coming of age story all it's own.
I will say, a lot happens in three days on this bus. I mean really a lot. It keeps the ride interesting, but might not have even been that necessary. The relationship between Marcus and Sebastian is compelling enough. Piper does a great job of getting in Sebastian's head and showing the reader how he processes his surroundings. How Marcus's words impact him. And Marcus, he is the rare adult that knows when to be quiet with a child. He doesn't conclude things for Sebastian, he lets him find his own. Maybe because Sebastian isn't his own son, maybe not. The only really distracting thing about the book for me was that Sebastian's voice wavers a little. The story is told from retrospect and so a certain understanding of the events from Sebastian's older view point is expected; however it seems some memories are very immediate and feel like his 11-year-old self experiencing them, while others are clearly retold from the older, wiser, perspective. It muddies Sebastian's characterization in some places. Overall, though, it's a good book.
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