Set in the early 1990s, Ashley Little’s follow-up to her award-winning novel Anatomy of a Girl Gang introduces readers to eleven-year-old Tucker Malone—the only child of a narcoleptic touring stripper—who believes his father is Sam Malone, the Boston barkeep who regularly appears on Tucker’s TV screen. He and his mother move from motel to motel until, one night in Niagara Falls, his mother is hit by a car after falling asleep in the street.
Tucker is sent to live in a youth group home where he meets Meredith, a pregnant sixteen-year-old with hopes of her own; he convinces her to join him on a road trip across the border to America in order to find his father, which takes them from Boston to the west coast. Along the way they encounter some of the most notorious criminals of the 1990s, and arrive in Los Angeles just as the Rodney King riots are unfolding.
His cross-country search becomes an epic depiction of mid-90s America at a crossroads as seen through the eyes of a boy, for whom finding his father is the one thing that will make him whole. Told in spare, straightforward prose, Niagara Motel is a biting chronicle during the rise of mass-media in the decade that defined the MTV Generation, and the bittersweet story of a young boy who must learn hard lessons on his way to becoming a man.
Ashley Little is the author of Anatomy of a Girl Gang, winner of the Ethel Wilson Fiction Prize and longlisted for the Dublin IMPAC Literary Award.
|Publisher:||Arsenal Pulp Press, Limited|
|Product dimensions:||5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.80(d)|
About the Author
Ashley Little: Ashley Little is the author of Anatomy of a Girl Gang, winner of the Ethel Wilson Fiction Prize and longlisted for the IMPAC Dublin Literary Award, and The New Normal, a YA novel that won the Sheila Egoff Children’s Literature Award.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Niagara Motel by Ashley Little is a quirky, sometimes heartbreaking, but strangely charming story of an eleven-year-old boy set in1992. It's highly recommended. Tucker Malone, 11, is the only child of Gina, an unreliable narcoleptic mother whose occupation is stripper and, occasionally, escort. For his whole life, the pair has been moving constantly from one place to another in Canada. After making their way to Niagara Falls, they stay at the run-down Niagara Motel. Gina is sure this will be her big break - until she falls asleep in the street and is hit by a car. Tucker manages to find her at the hospital, but, due to Gina's long recovery for her injuries, he is put into Bright Light, a group home for teens - the only place that has room for him. There he meets Meredith, a pregnant 16 year-old. The two decide to secretly go on a road trip to Boston to find Tucker's father. Tucker believes that Sam Malone, the bar tender on Cheers, is his father; obviously, this is not true. Then, after the car they "borrowed" breaks down, the two decide to hitchhike to California to meet Ted Danson, the actor who plays Sam Malone. Their travels put them in contact with a motley group of people, many of whom you'd recognize as infamous during this time period. They arrive in Los Angeles just as the Rodney King riots are unfolding. The story is written through Tucker's point-of-view in a straightforward, matter-of-fact manner that is indicative of a preteen boy. Tucker is a great character, positive, and accepting, despite the struggles he has encountered in his life. His inner strength is resolute. His cherished possessions are in a shoe box. He and his mom travel light. His beloved little plastic dog broke my heart (I teared up just typing this). The ending is a bit unbelievable, but so is his road trip in general, so I just rolled with it. There is something in this novel that just appealed to me. It is well-written, well-paced and compelling. I like Tucker. Little had me caring about Tucker and wishing the best for him. The people he meets on his trip are a bizarre assortment of characters that you should recognize, many for their future evil deeds. Tucker's firm belief that he can find his father is touching. The end of the book, during the riots, is horrifically violent. Disclosure: My advanced reading copy was courtesy of the publisher/author.