Homeward Bound features 79-year-old grandfather George, who didn’t quite make it as a rock star in the ‘60s. He’s expected to be in retirement but in truth he’s not ready to close the lid on his dreams and will do anything for a last chance. When he finds himself on a tour of retirement homes instead of a cream tea at the seaside his family has promised, it seems his story might prematurely be over.
He finds the answer by inviting Tara, his 18-year-old granddaughter, to share his house, along with his memories and vast collection of records. She is an aspiring musician as well, although her idea of music is not George’s. What unfolds are clashes and unlikely parallels between the generations – neither knows nor cares how to use a dishwasher – as they both chase their ambitions.
This is an absolute gem of a book, it really is! It also has added bitter-sweetness during the current Covid crisis, when criminally inept political bungling has led to the deaths of more than twenty thousand people like our hero George: elderly but loaded with experience, accomplishments, stories to tell and so much still to contribute.
At first, the home in ‘homeward’ appears to relate to finding a convenient old people’s home for his family to park George in, now that he’s becoming a little ‘forgetful’ now and then. By the end of the book, that ‘home’ has taken on many, much deeper meanings and significance as I’ll let you discover for yourselves.
George is a wonderful character. He’s hugely talented, witty and, like many older folk (and I can say this as I’m heading far-too-rapidly towards 60), given to occasional grumpiness. That’s what makes him so wonderfully convincing. Tara is truly his granddaughter, with the shared musical talent and the strength of personality.
Graced with a classy and clever cover, the book is equally clever, beautifully written and utterly enthralling. A huge thank-you and congratulations to author Richard.
Richard Smith is a writer and storyteller for sponsored films and commercials, with subjects as varied as caring for the elderly, teenage pregnancies, communities in the Niger delta, anti-drug campaigns and fighting organised crime. Their aim has been to make a positive difference, but, worryingly, two commercials he worked on featured in a British Library exhibition, ‘Propaganda’.