Monday, May 11, 2015

Mom on the Road: A Novel by Allyson Ochs Primack

Release Date: February 13, 2015
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
Author Website:

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars.

Maggie Stevens lived the typical, modern American life. She went to college, got married and had children. Leaving behind her own dreams to focus on what needed to be done, she suddenly found herself staring into the face of someone she barely recognized. When her young son had a chance to tour the country with an Broadway production company, she took a deep breath and got on the tour bus along with him.

Through trial and error she faced her fears and found parts of herself she had put away so long ago. Adventure, mishaps and hilarity ensued as mother and son learned the life of an on-tour actor, suffering the highs with brilliant performances and the lows of long travel times in cramped spaces. The book was inspired by the author's own journey with her son as he toured the country and was documented in her blog,

The author contacted me, asking for an honest and fair review of her book. When I read the synopsis and saw that it was inspired by events in the author's real life, I was immediately intrigued. One might think this book would be a simple retelling of how the tour came about and the adventures that ensued. That's partially correct. There were also moments of self-discovery, reconnecting with one's dreams and letting go of fear to enjoy life and all it offered. Now, I must issue one note of warning. The book was filled with the honesty of a nearly 40 year-old woman, so adult language and situations were present throughout the pages. But that was who Maggie Stevens was.

Told through the eyes of Maggie Stevens, her life before the tour was recounted in the first few chapters. She let us know all the hopes and dreams she held as a child and how those precious dreams  of freedom and travel were pushed aside for more pressing events such as college, working as an attorney and living life as a wife and mother. There was a brash honesty to what Maggie told about her home life and how she felt something lacking. When her son, Matt, was chosen to share the part in "The Munsters Musical", a different set of fears were laid bare, but they didn't stop the family from rearranging their lives in order to give Matt the opportunity of a lifetime. Spending more than half a year with the crew and actors, relationships on all levels were formed despite the awkward stiffness of those first few days. Each of the players were given an introduction in the book, their first impressions recorded as Maggie experienced them. As the tour gained a rhythm after each production, these impressions shifted as they all became familiar with one another. It was pretty interesting to watch the dynamics of the relationships change as time went on.

Though the start was a little slow for me, I was hooked by the honesty that Maggie presented. She didn't hide anything from the glare of the spotlight and included her own flaws, bad habits and hidden desires. The pace picked up shortly after she found herself out of college, married and a little one on the way. When she wrote about raising three kids, maintaining a home and working part-time as an attorney, I felt exhausted for her! Several moments made me smile or laugh aloud. Her son's joy at seeing New York City for the first time, the tearful first goodbye as mother and son set off on the journey, and the first show were all powerful moments in the book for me. Of course, hilarity ensued as rushed from one city to the next, spent long hours trapped on a bus together, and shared hotel rooms which provided little to no privacy. It all added up to a roller coaster ride of emotions, events and experiences.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book. I'm very glad that I had the opportunity to read and review this book. Because of Maggie's honesty and the balance of both good and bad times within the story, I felt like I was right there with them through the bus rides, the after-show parties and the loneliness that the road induced. At the very heart of the story, both mother and son discovered both who they truly were and the acceptance to be that very person. Chasing your dream didn't have to end simply because your circumstanced did. Be brave and step back into the race. You never know what may be waiting around the corner. Maggie took that big step forward and found her passion rekindled and a deeper level of contentment with her family and friends. If you're looking for a comedy-filled, adult coming-of-age story or have ever had the desire to break out of the box, then this book is the one you need to read.

Mom on the Road: A Novel by Allyson Ochs Primack is currently available at various online retailers in both paperback and digital (Kindle) formats. Follow the link below to the book's Amazon page to purchase.
Mom on the Road: A Novel by Allyson Ochs Primack

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