Rating:

Reviewed by Elizabeth Talbott

Mark Millhone loves vintage cars. Browsing eBay Motors one night, he finds the perfect car – a vintage BMW in perfect condition. Even though his family has gone through a year of one crisis after another and his marriage is starting to fray, he decides to buy it, only to find out he has to drive it from Texas back to New York. (His wife is obviously not happy with the situation.) He invites his workaholic, distant father to come with him on the trip. On his travels, can he achieve the perspective needed to save his marriage and his family or is it just a waste of time and money?

Mark Millhone’s family could be anyone’s family. Between the death of his mother, his son being mauled by a dog, his other son’s birth complications, among other events, it’s no wonder his family is falling apart. He deals with serious situations with humor; it’s not that he does not care about the situations at hand, but humor is his defense mechanism. The humor and the conversational language in which the novel is written sucks the reader in and commands attention.

The Patron Saint of Used Cars and Second Chances is a travel narrative. Mark physically travels from Texas to his home in New York, but it’s also a travel narrative through his life. One of my favorite aspects of this book is that the revealing of his past happens by going off on a tangent based on some innocuous happening during the travels. This provides a depth and background to the characters as the story unfolds. The book is easy to follow, despite the changes from the present to the past, which really shows off the talent of the writer.

This novel is engaging and invokes many emotions. There are many universal truths seen in Mark’s family, making this book easy for anyone to relate to.

Please visit Mark’s website and follow along with his blog tour.

Elizabeth is a student at Cal State Long Beach. She laughs a lot, loves cats, and lives for music and books. You can read her blog here: http://titania86-fishmuffins.blogspot.com/.