Friday, November 4, 2011

Review and Giveaway: Call Me When You Land by Michael Schiavone


By:  Michael Schiavone
Published: October 21, 2011

On the brink of her fortieth birthday, Katie Olmstead is in no mood to celebrate. Still tending bar to support a stalled art career, she continues to struggle with her temperamental teenage son, C.J., who wants less to do with her every day. When Katie gets word that C.J.'s estranged father has died and willed C.J. his Harley-Davidson, the gift quickly becomes a wedge driving C.J. and Katie even further apart.

With the past parked in the driveway of their New England home, C.J.'s increasing outbursts and Katie's self-sabotage resurrect memories of Katie's own troubled childhood, one plagued by a mentally ill mother and a neglectful father. As Katie's notion of motherhood is tested, her artistic ambitions dwindle and she begins to feel like an imposter amongst her seemingly refined neighbors.

Suddenly faced with a bullying, overachieving sister she hasn't spoken to in years, an on-again, off-again boyfriend she just can't love, and a drinking habit that's spiraling out of control, Katie finds support in an unlikely place-- her eccentric and ailing great uncle, Walter. From his room on the third floor, Walter watches over them, encouraging both Katie and C.J. to do the work they fear in order to redeem their family.

I received this book as an ARC review.  I like reading first novels from writers, which is why I was interested in this one.  Schiavone had written several short stories, with this being his first novel.  You can find out more about him at his website

This story was raw, emotional, and heart-breaking.  It was kind-of like driving by a car accident, you shouldn't watch, but you can't look away.  The pain Katie and C.J. were going through in this novel was tough to read and yet, you had to keep reading.  I appreciate that the author took the reader to those ugly places and didn't try to clean up every situation.  Life isn't always pretty and neat and Katie's life certainly wasn't.  For him to turn her life around and make everything great would have been wrong.  The novel frequently moves back and forth from the past to the present and at times it was confusing as to the time period the novel was in.  But, finding out the past made the characters all the more compelling.

Katie, as a single mom, didn't always make the best or right choices for her and C.J., but I understood her fear, her pain, and her need to make things right with her son, with herself, and with her past.  Even though she was spinning out of control, I was rooting for her all the way through the book.

This isn't a happy, feel good story, but it is a real story of life and death, of parenting even when it isn't easy, and of redemption.  I think Michael Schiavone is on to something and I look forward to more of his work.

If you would like to win your own copy of CALL ME WHEN YOU LAND, just leave a comment telling me what book you are reading now with your email address such as nameATemailDOTcom.  All entries must be received by Sunday, November 20th at 11:59 PM.  I will choose a winner using on Monday, November 21st.  The winner will have 48 hours to respond to my email before I choose another winner. This giveaway is only open to US residents. 

This review is my honest opinion.  I received an Advanced Review Copy of this novel as well as one to use as a giveaway to my readers.  I did not receive any other compensation for this review.  I do not review anything that wouldn't benefit myself or my family.  Thanks to Allison for sending the books my way!

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