Bill Warrington's Last Chance

( 7 )

Overview

Read James King's blogs and other content on the Penguin Community.

A magnificent debut about a man's odyssey toward family redemption- with his granddaughter along for the ride

Bill Warrington realizes he has Alzheimer's and his lucid days are numbered. Determined to repair a lifetime of damage to his estranged adult children, Bill takes off with his fifteen-year-old granddaughter April on a cross-country drive, bound for San Francisco, where ...

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Bill Warrington's Last Chance: A Novel

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Overview

Read James King's blogs and other content on the Penguin Community.

A magnificent debut about a man's odyssey toward family redemption- with his granddaughter along for the ride

Bill Warrington realizes he has Alzheimer's and his lucid days are numbered. Determined to repair a lifetime of damage to his estranged adult children, Bill takes off with his fifteen-year-old granddaughter April on a cross-country drive, bound for San Francisco, where she dreams of becoming a rock star. As the unlikely pair heads west, Bill leaves clues intended to force his three children-including April's frantic mother-to overcome their mutual distrust and long-held grievances to work together to find them.

In this dazzling road trip novel, James King masterfully explores themes of aging, sibling rivalry, family dysfunction, and coming of age, against a backdrop of the American heartland. Unflinching, funny, and poignant, Bill Warrington's Last Chance speaks to that universal longing for familial reconciliation, love, and forgiveness.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
This nicely tuned road trip novel from 2009 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award–winner King begins in Ohio, where April Shea is a “pigheaded” 14-year-old girl who experiments with pot and constantly squabbles with her single mother, Marcy. Together, Marcy and April care for Marcy's 79-year-old father, Bill, a Korean War vet and retired salesman now suffering from Alzheimer's. Bill has his heart set on bringing his family together for a reunion, but with this looking ever unlikely—his two sons are perpetually out of the picture—Bill and April take off for California, where April plans on joining a band and Bill imagines he can force a reunion. Along the way, April fends off the lecherous creeps, Bill slips increasingly into his mental twilight, and Bill's children rise above their family dysfunction and band together. The spirited interplay between the gruff but wounded Bill and the perhaps too precocious April provides the most sensitive scenes in this enjoyable first novel. (Aug.)
Publishers Weekly
This nicely tuned road trip novel from 2009 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award–winner King begins in Ohio, where April Shea is a “pigheaded” 14-year-old girl who experiments with pot and constantly squabbles with her single mother, Marcy. Together, Marcy and April care for Marcy's 79-year-old father, Bill, a Korean War vet and retired salesman now suffering from Alzheimer's. Bill has his heart set on bringing his family together for a reunion, but with this looking ever unlikely—his two sons are perpetually out of the picture—Bill and April take off for California, where April plans on joining a band and Bill imagines he can force a reunion. Along the way, April fends off the lecherous creeps, Bill slips increasingly into his mental twilight, and Bill's children rise above their family dysfunction and band together. The spirited interplay between the gruff but wounded Bill and the perhaps too precocious April provides the most sensitive scenes in this enjoyable first novel. (Aug.)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780670021611
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 8/5/2010
  • Pages: 304
  • Product dimensions: 9.54 (w) x 11.28 (h) x 1.02 (d)

Meet the Author

James King

James King lives in Wilton, Connecticut, with his wife and two children. This is his first novel.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 7 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(2)

4 Star

(2)

3 Star

(2)

2 Star

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1 Star

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Sort by: Showing all of 7 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 16, 2014

    This is the tale of a family that becomes dysfunctional & st

    This is the tale of a family that becomes dysfunctional & start to go their own ways in life after the death of their mother. Two of the kids, (Mike & Marcy) grow-up to have dysfunctional family life’s themselves; the other one: (Nick) has a short lived marriage that ends when his wife die’s of cancer. Well I, am sure that stuff like this happens in the USA all the time with families that become distant; a grand-daughter wanting to get to know her grandfather when he is coming close to death… I was-just-never-really overwhelmingly grappled by this book tho I did not dislike it. The main characters to me were one dimensional & the plotting to the climax predictable. It did not surprise me that the main title of bill’s last chance which is to make amends with his kids for something that happened to their mother was never explored but rather remained a mystery.
    Bill is, a troubled man that for the most part only found happiness with his wife that dies well the kids are all still young. His kids, hardly ever talk to him or come around to see him & for that matter they never even talk to each other. His granddaughter, April is a straight A student but seems to lack analytical common sense: hating her mother & giving saint-hood to her dead-beat loser dad that walked out on her & her mom. His daughter Marcy is a troubled woman that is always trying to move up in the world well raising a teenage kid that is constantly displeased with her wanting to get away from her, thinking the grass will be greener on the other side. His son Nick is a widowed journalist that is trying to start dating again; he starts with a ruthless twit that makes an idiot out of him & that will be the end of him trying to get a date in the story... His oldest, son Mike is a slime ball alcoholic salesman that commits adultery & slowly sees his life ruined. He shows all the signs of an alcoholic from delusion to evil self-centered cheating.
    The main characters of this book are: Bill, Marcy, & April, Nick & Mike are more like supporting characters that are mostly seen in Bill’s flashbacks (like Highlander) that he has in the present.

    ~

    This would make a better miniseries rather than a movie because the characters need to have time to be built up.

    I give this novel a C + (Common) & I’m being generous.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 5, 2013

    I loved it. I especially liked Marcy. I know people with her aci

    I loved it. I especially liked Marcy. I know people with her acid tongue who have a kind and giving heart. I enjoyed meeting James at a book signing.

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  • Posted September 20, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Bill Warrington's Las Chance

    Bill Warrington is one mean person and is estranged from his three children. His wife has passed away; he lives alone and has the onset of Alzheimer's. With that his novel is a road trip to story where Bill takes his 15-year old granddaughter, April across the country (or should I say she takes him) as they run away from their dysfunctional lives.

    Although, Bill is nasty, he is still an interesting character. His children have their own problems and some I didn't connect with. Overall, the combination of the road trip, the individual's lives weave into a nice story of family (or lack of) and dealing with death, disease and relationships. I didn't love it, but liked it.

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  • Posted April 1, 2011

    A moving story full of flawed characters

    I met Jim during the second Amazon Breakthrough Novel award. Am impressed with his skilled delivery of a moving story of an old man on his last physical and emotional journey, trying to reconnect with the only family he has. A terrific read.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 19, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted June 1, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted April 17, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 7 Customer Reviews

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