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Burritos and Gasoline: A Novel by Jamie…
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Burritos and Gasoline: A Novel

by Jamie Beckett

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222,551,640 (3.25)5
Recently added bymtbass, richardderus

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When I got to the end of this road trip, I was kind of scratching my head and staring at the map, wondering how, exactly, I got here from there. Like, the bridge was out, but we made it anyway without taking a detour. Redemption seemed to come just a little too easily and conveniently for Frank, so while I had rooted for him to pull out of his “death spiral” on the journey down I95, his “happily ever after” victory felt a bit hollow. ( )
  mtbass | Mar 28, 2017 |
Rating: 3.75* of five

The Book Report: Unfinished business reunites old, long-estranged friends Danny Lougman and Frank Stevens at the lowest imaginable point in Frank's life: His long-term girlfriend left him the same day his shitty job in economically below-depressed East Hartford, Connecticut, let him go after eight years. He came home to a completely empty apartment then and hasn't had the money or the will to change that since. Danny, looking like hell on holiday, arrives on Frank's front porch just as he's decided that he'll end this pathetic, horrible excuse of a life he hasn't been leading so much as staggering under. Danny has a simple request for the broke, miserable Frank: Take me home. After a waffle, Frank says yes, okay, you're my oldest friend even if I haven't seen you in twenty years, let's go, where to?

Gainesville, Florida. .

Thus begins a road trip that allows two men in bad shape to find and restore their old closeness, after a weird fashion, and Danny's sibylline utterances go from pissing Frank off, making him feel accused and judged, to making him think, to opening his heart and mind to the possibility that here and now isn't the end of hope but possibly the beginning.

Arriving in Florida at last, Frank's elderly Taurus (the bull, this isn't made much of, but it's very quietly significant) dies a well-earned death and strands Frank at a beautiful home with attractive strangers telling him incredible, impossible things that must be true, because there is no other logical or illogical explanation.

The last twenty or so pages of this nicely written version of The Celestine Prophecy and How to Win Friends and Influence People's bastard child made me mist over and smile through sentimental tears. Roll your eyes all you want, cynics and skeptics, some days a guy needs to hear that things can and WILL work out, even when it looks like they can't and won't.


My Review: “Hey, don’t you worry. If you believe it happened, I’m going to believe it did, too.”

“Why would you do that?” I asked skeptically.

Mel took a deep breath, looked me directly in the eye and forcefully launched into a quiet tirade.

“Because I was orphaned as a teenager and I need something to look forward to, that’s why. I work at a gas station convenience store, and believe it or not, that’s the best job I’ve ever had. It might be the best job I’ll ever have. My best friend bought the house we live in with tips that a bunch of sweaty old truckers stuffed into her G-string while she danced around a pole naked for their entertainment. Her boyfriend is a semi-literate redneck whose family would probably lynch the both of them if they knew what their baby boy was doing, and from the moment I laid eyes on you, I found myself being strangely attracted to you for reasons I just can’t explain....”

The litany sounded like it might go on forever. “Considering all that, I hope you won’t be too offended if I choose to be a ‘glass half full’ girl and have a little faith in you and a bit of hope for my own future.”-- (pp. 152-153). . Kindle Edition.

If that doesn't explain my rating of the book, then nothing I might find to say will explain it any better.

Part of my terrible addiction to Kindle freebies. ( )
  richardderus | Mar 9, 2012 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0595409121, Paperback)

After more than twenty years of bad decisions and spectacular personal failures, Frank Stevens, a lifelong underachiever, needs a drastic change. The day he is unceremoniously fired from his job he arrives home to find empty space. All of his belongings are gone, and so is his live-in girlfriend, Jackie. But things only get worse.

Four months later, on the brink of eviction and vaguely suicidal, Frank’s salvation appears in the form of Danny Loughman, a nearly forgotten and barely recognizable childhood friend. Danny asks for what seems like a simple favor: a ride home. Easy enough, until Frank learns that “home” is a thousand miles away from his run-down, suburban Connecticut apartment. Seeing Danny’s request as an opportunity to escape his miserable existence, Frank spontaneously embarks on a four-day long road trip with his old friend.

The journey forces Frank to evaluate his true character and discover the man he still could be. He has a chance at redemption if he can pull himself together, provided he isn’t completely insane…

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:19:22 -0400)

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