Saturday, August 15, 2009

Thanksgiving at the Inn by Tim Whitney

Ever since his mother left, life has't been easy for Heath Wellington III. Between his father's (Junior's) bouts with alcoholism and literary rejection, and Heath's own wrongful suspension from school, there hasn't been all that much to be thankful for.

But following the tragic death of estranged grandfather Senior, father and son alike stand to inherit a life-changing fortune . . . with one catch.

Heath and Junior must spend the next three months managing Senior's bed and breakfast, located in the same Massachusetts home Junior has spent the last eight years trying to escape.

Upended from his everyday life and relocated to a town where everyone knew and loved the grandfather he can't even remember, Heath finds an inn full of some of the strangest people he's ever met, such as:

* Winsted, the old, wise Jamaican man who used to lead the prayers in Senior's factory;

* Mrs. Farrel, an elderly woman giving away her late husband's fortune letter by letter;

* Mustang Sally, the muscle-bound, tattooed grease monkey who doubles as a children's author;

* And Carter, the silent TV news junkie and secret Harvard graduate.

And, at a nearby school is Savannah, Junior's first love, and her adorable, autistic daughter, Tori.

But most of all, there's Junior himself, vinegar to Heath's oil. As Heath adjusts to his new world, what he needs most is to start anew with his father, to understand that Junior, too, is dealing with loss, and to realize that, even in the most tragic of times, there's a lot in life to be thankful for.

Thanksgiving at the Inn is a beautiful story of family and forgiveness, and a sure holiday classic. Tim Whitney's fantastic, heartwarming debut is one you'll want to read with the whole family for years and years to come.

My Review:
Here's a lovely young adult story line about people who manage to take life's bad breaks but continue to smile. The theme is one of gratitude--counting blessings rather than listing negatives.

The protagonist, Heath, is a delightful teenager who has a difficult time with his overbearing father. Heath is suspended from school for a week because of a teacher's error--she thinks Heath was cheating on a test when in fact, he was not. He is punished with suspension from school. Now, I taught high school, and cheating is never punished with a suspension; a student may make a failing grade for cheating or be made to retake the test, but suspension is saved for much more serious offenses--like fighting.

Heath's father, Junior, is a demanding, growling, negative alcoholic who transforms into a man who grins ear to ear while in pain, waiting in a hospital bed for surgery on a broken leg. That is a bit much to swallow. The character should have been fleshed out.

This novel contains profanity. I know that teens hear profanity and no doubt the majority use it; however, I feel that there is no place in a young adult novel for it.

If you would like to buy a copy, click below.

1 comment:

bermudaonion said...

This sounds like a great book to read this holiday season. Thanks for the review!