Solace of the Road by Siobhan Dowd

David Fickling Books, October, 2009.      ISBN: 0375849718. $17.99

When fourteen-year-old Holly finds out that her caseworker, Miko, at the group home is leaving, she retreats even more into her fantasies about making her way back to Ireland from England and being reunited with her mum who fled an abusive boyfriend, leaving Holly behind.

She reluctantly agrees to try a foster placement since without her caseworker, she doesn’t feel strong ties to the group home, but she resists Fiona and Ray’s middle class life, and kindnesses, and ultimately runs away, planning to find her mother somewhere, somehow in Ireland. She disguises herself in a blond wig of Fiona’s that she finds, and sets off with some money of her own, and some more she lifts from Ray’s pockets, and a very few belongings.

On the road she soon finds her money won’t take her far, and she resorts to begging, stealing, hitch-hiking, and stowing away on a train, and then a ferry to Ireland. Unfortunately, as she gets closer and closer to Ireland, her memories about her mum become more and more clear, and she is forced to finally the reality of her situation.

While this book got a number of good reviews, I felt that the interesting premise is bogged down by slow story telling, and not a lot of action.


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