On the one-year anniversary of his wife’s death from cancer, Leonard Self decides he will die as well — by his own hand. As he drives to his predetermined last destination, readers are taken through his unique history. While “Monument Road” focuses on Leonard, it is a story about how seemingly insignificant events can unfold to touch many.
Author Charlie Quimby has a roundabout way of writing that perfectly fits his main character. Leonard is the epitome of a reserved, independent rancher. His wife, Inetta, and his ranch have been his world, and the loss of one has left Leonard with little interest in the other. His well-planned suicide has been thought out with little emotion and, after getting to know him, it is easy to mourn his eventual demise.
Other characters are also memorable. Helen Vavoris is the antithesis of Leonard. She is a teenage girl who delights in the dramatic, and a detour is taken from Leonard’s drive to death to look more closely into a few important weeks in her life.
From Helen, the book moves on to the teenage boys who would eventually touch the lives of both Leonard and Inetta. Junior Crimmins, a boy with a troubled past, showcases the tragedies of innocent mistakes and their lasting ramifications. Finally, Inetta is brought to life through Leonard’s loyal remembrances of their life together.
Quimby’s writing is sensitive and graceful; he has a talent for revealing slowly blossoming characters who are beautifully flawed and realistic. There are times, however, when too much focus is given to Leonard’s many instances of reminiscing.
“Monument Road” is liberally sprinkled with profanities and has many depressing moments. The book has several crudities and deals with a potential serial killer, child neglect and suicide.
“Monument Road” is Quimby’s first novel and he is working on his quasi-sequel. He divides his time between his home state of Colorado and Minnesota.
If you go ...
What: Charlie Quimby book signing
When: Tuesday, Oct. 8, 7 p.m.
Where: The King's English, 1511 S. 1500 East, Salt Lake City
Note: Places in the signing line are reserved for those who purchase "Monument Road" from the King's English.
When: Wednesday, Oct. 9, 2-3:30 p.m.
Where: Dolly's Bookstore, 510 Main St., Park City
Elizabeth Reid has bachelor's degrees in economics and history. She has worked in retail, medical billing, catering, education and business fields. Her favorite occupation is that of wife and mother. Her email is firstname.lastname@example.org.