Free Book ♫ Redhead by the Side of the Road ☭

Reading Anne Tyler is like slipping into comfortable shoes I don t think there s another living writer who captures everyday people in everyday circumstances so well In this book which I won in a Goodreads giveaway, yay , Micah Mortimer is like that annoying cousin you tolerate because he has some redeeming qualities Tracking his journey reminds me about the value of good intentions and second chances Tyler always makes me feel better about the world. Sometimes when he was dealing with people, he felt like he was operating one of those claw machines on a boardwalk, those shovel things where you tried to scoop up a prize but the controls were too unwieldy and you worked at too great a remove RTC hoping for April 3 Free Book ⚆ Redhead by the Side of the Road ☹ From The Beloved And Best Selling Anne Tyler, A Sparkling New Novel About Misperception, Second Chances, And The Sometimes Elusive Power Of Human Connection Micah Mortimer Is A Creature Of Habit A Self Employed Tech Expert, Superintendent Of His Balti Apartment Building, Cautious To A Fault Behind The Steering Wheel, He Seems Content Leading A Steady, Circumscribed Life But One Day His Routines Are Blown Apart When His Woman Friend He Refuses To Call Anyone In Her Late Thirties A Girlfriend Tells Him She S Facing Eviction, And A Teenager Shows Up At Micah S Door Claiming To Be His Son These Surprises, And The Ways They Throw Micah S Meticulously Organized Life Off Kilter, Risk Changing Him Forever An Intimate Look Into The Heart And Mind Of A Man Who Finds Those Around Him Just Out Of Reach, And A Funny, Joyful, Deeply Compassionate Story About Seeing The World Through New Eyes, Redhead By The Side Of The Road Is A Triumph, Filled With Anne Tyler S Signature Wit And Gimlet Eyed Observation Anne Tyler has the uncanny ability to hold a mirror up to the world, exposing us to all our foibles and strangeness and disconnections, and giving us the power to love ourselves anyway.Witness her latest character, Micah Mortimer Any technophobe or anyone who has rolled his or her eyes at a relative or friend who is techno intolerant will chortle with recognition at this self employed Tech Hermit who has authored a book titled, First, You Plug It In In ways, he is not unlike Macon Leary of Accidental Tourist, the quirky author of the eponymous travel guides who slips into a meticulous routine that keeps him at arm s distance from the outside world.But Micah has other quirks, too He s a creature of habit, adhering to a dare we call it OCD type of schedule He s a cautious and responsible driver, constantly looking to the Travel Gods for a pat on the back when he stays under the speed limit even though no one is around or signals first even though he s in the left turn only lane He s risk averse to a fault and right now, that quality is threatening to torpedo the best relationship he s ever been in with a teacher named Cass.In short, Micah is not only like other Anne Tyler characters who struggle with fears, concerns, and disconnections he is also like us A lesser writer would use her characters quirks to win an easy laugh from her readers, but Anne Tyler is a pro and she loves her characters, warts and all She roots for them to succeed and we find ourselves rooting right along with her In the end, Anne Tyler brings into her work a compassion, joy, and empowerment that teaches us that there is such a thing as second chances in the world and that if we keep trying, we ll get it right As a reader, I love this quality about her and I also love this latest book which brought tears to my eyes in witnessing Micah s dawning that sometimes, it is what it is, in the end A huge thanks to Alfred A Knopf for sending me an advance copy in exchange for a decidedly honest review. Anne Tyler excels in her grasp of the low key ordinary everyday lives of her characters and their relationships, as she demonstrates in this beautifully observed and astute novel that focuses on 44 year old Micah Mortimer He is living in a ultra clean, well ordered, basement flat in Balti, a maintenance superintendent of his block of apartments, whilst running his one man tech business, Tech Hermit, addressing the tech needs and repairs of his local clientele His OCD daily routines are adhered to rigidly, from his early morning run, to putting out the trash bins, and to the various aspects of cleaning his apartment His finickiness makes him the butt of good natured family banter and teasing, unlike him, his sisters, Ade, Suze, Liz and Norma with their families are the complete opposite of him with their messy homes and chaotic lives Micah has been in a relationship with school teacher, Cassia Slade, for three years, emotionally, he is naturally inclined to keep his distance from others, although he cannot escape the likes of Yolanda, one of the tenants, who regales her latest dating experiences and her unflagging optimism in the face of so much failure He shows compassion towards the cancer suffering Luella Carter, and imagines himself being congratulated by the traffic gods for his safe, considerate and cautious driving Life begins to slip away from him when Cass informs him of her fear of eviction after her cat, Whiskers, is discovered and the son of an old college flame, Lorna Bartell, the rich and entitled 18 year old, Brink Bartell Adams, turns up out of the blue on his doorstep Cass is less than impressed when Micah treats her dilemma so lightly and fails to step up by offering her a home with him, whilst Brink is convinced Micah is his father, even though he had never slept with Laura.Micah becomes the conduit for Brink reconnecting back with his parents, he finally opens up about the problems he is facing at college, and Micah learns that his perception of his and Laura s college relationship was far from accurate When Cass breaks up with him, Micah is bewildered as to the reasons why, and slightly miffed that his family is taking her side His carefully ordered life begin to fall apart as the emotional messiness of life cuts deep, he really loves Cass, and desperately misses her, as he imagines his barren future without her He begins to yearn for company to assuage his loneliness, will he be able to overcome the habits of a lifetime to get Cass back This is a sublime read with oodles of charm, of a middle aged Micah, who begins to embrace the natural messiness and chaos of life and relationships Highly recommended Many thanks to Random House Vintage for an ARC. If there ever was a time to read an Anne Tyler novel, especially this novel, it s now Take comfort in Anne s warm prose, her ambling pace, and her average man type characters, who go about daily life as expectantly as the sun rises and sets Micah Mortimer is a single man, in his early forties, content with his organized, steady life He lives in the basement apartment of the building where he s the part time super As sole owner of his company, TECH HERMIT, Micah fields calls from computer users on his cell, then drives to their home or business to solve their problems A best selling author at his local bookstore, Micah wrote, First, You Plug It In, created for everyone who s afraid of their computer He makes a sustainable living for a man with his simple needs.Micah is such a creature of habit, that he has a daily schedule that only varies for the area he cleans each day He rises at a set time, runs a certain number of miles, showers, has breakfast, then cleans the location set for that day He takes calls for his business, slaps the TECH HERMIT sign on his KIA, and is off to repair computers.Surprisingly, Micah has a girlfriend of three years, Cass, an elementary school teacher, who he sees several times a week They have their own routine as well, of course Micah s world is turned upside down by two events The first, is by Cass, who calls to tell him that she may be evicted from the apartment she sublets because the owner of the lease visited unannounced and discovered Cass s pet cat Cass is beside herself with worry, but Micah assures her she ll be able to find another apartment easily that takes pets This is not what Cass wants to hear after dating Micah for three years She wants to hear him say, Oh don t worry sweetie, you can move in with me But naturally, Micah is clueless.The second event, which actually took place a week before Cass s, was the out of the blue, visit by Brink Bartell Adams, the teenage son of Lorna Bartell, a former girlfriend of Micah s from college For some reason, Brink was hoping that Micah might be his birth father Unknown to Brink, and how do you explain this to a sensitive, na ve kid Micah and Lorna never had sex in college or anywhere, at any time.Anyway, Brink has a secret involving school that he just doesn t want to deal with and face his parents Micah kind of helps Micah eventually realizes too, that he misses Cass and really wants her back in his life.I ll leave you with one thought from this wonderful book, when Micah first met Cass He was in her 4th grade classroom fixing a computer problem while she was dealing with a few kids who didn t want to go back to the nursing home they went to last year and sing Christmas carols Cass tried to explain that most of the elderly people there had no one left in their own lives any and look forward to the kids visit Remember, she said, you ll be singing to a roomful of broken hearts Micah asked Cass for a date that day before he left her classroom, she said yes It was her speech to the children that had won him A roomful of broken hearts He liked that phrase.Remember that phrase when you get to the end, which I personally think is spectacular, it s important.Thank you NetGalley, and Knopf Publishing Group, and Anne Tyler Full disclosure, and borrowing from Stephen King s Misery but not in a CREEPY way I m Anne Tyler s biggest fan I think she s the Jane Austen of our time So it s no surprise that I was poised to love her newest novel, Redhead by the Side of the Road , and love it I did I read it in one day with that familiar push pull of wanting to both devour and savor think of a thick slice of your favorite cheesecake.Micha Mortimer is a 40 something handy man with a side gig called The Tech Hermit a business offering personal IT Tech help to the public He s written a manual called First, You Plug It In I guarantee, most of us will see something of ourselves in Micha s clients Tyler s strength is in her character development We are privy to Micha s thoughts, but we know when he s totally miss reading a situation We know what Micha s long term girlfriend is getting at when she tells him that she s afraid of being evicted from her apartment But sadly, Micha is clueless Micha doesn t always see things as they are hence the titular redhead by the side of the road I won t spoil that delightful detail Micha s family has labeled him finicky and a fussbudget , and I admit that some of his habits resemble my own I prefer the term organized The Mortimer family will remind readers of many of Tyler s trademark families Like most families, the Mortimers believed that their family was fascinating than anybody else s How universally true is that The fact that we love Tyler s families is because we often see our own reflected This description hit home with me As a rule, conversations in this family didn t so much flow as spray up in bursts here and there, like geysers This too short I m not ready to let go, novel is BRIMMING with characters, some of whom we only know for a few pages Only Anne Tyler can make you fall in love with, or be annoyed by, or detest, a character in such a short time Creating rich and interesting characters I refuse to say quirky because Tyler herself says Aren t we all Now, THAT S TALENT Tyler fans will delight in this perfect story, and for anyone reading this review who has yet to read an Anne Tyler novel, this is a perfect one to start with You are in for a treat Anne Tyler is one of my favourite writers and I ve read every book she s published this is her twenty third It s a gorgeous character study of a 40 something man stuck in his own life I loved Micah Mortimer and his seemingly quiet life that Tyler bursts open with humanity and love Such a beautifully light touch from Tyler here. The only place I went wrong, he writes, was expecting things to be perfect. I remember being in my early teens in school and our English teacher making us read Anne Tyler s Digging to America I remember rolling my eyes, along with my classmates, because we were forced to read something so insufferably boring about everyday people living their lives and interacting with each other So dull Well, I don t know if it s because I m on my way to becoming a boring old person these days, but I have been wholly charmed by both of the two Tyler books I ve read as an adult.Redhead by the Side of the Road is a little book with a lot of quiet power A novella, I imagine, though I don t know the exact word count It s a book about a middle aged man called Micah Mortimer He s a self employed techie with a business aptly called Tech Hermit He likes order and organization Everything in his house and in his life has its place and each day is part of a strict cleaning schedule Thursday, for example, is kitchen day.Micah exasperates those around him, though he cannot understand their frustration with him Even his somewhat finicky girlfriend is growing tired of all his ways It reminds me of several other books that are intimate character portraits of outsiders who struggle to connect with other humans Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine, A Man Called Ove, for example but this one is subtler and less sensationalist than either of those don t get me wrong, I really loved both those books.It is so tempting to look for hidden messages in books And if this book does indeed have a message, I truly cannot decide if it is a caution against perfectionism and rigidity, or instead an appeal for understanding of those oddballs who have their daily lives planned down to the second The meaning of the title suggests the former and Micah s way of life does hold him back in many ways, but this portrait of him is undeniably a compassionate one Maybe there is no message Just a moving story about a person who marches to his own beat.Facebook Instagram Perception is reality I think that statement is debatable but Tyler s novel is very much about perception and how our reality can change in a second A middle aged man lives his life by adhering to a strict schedule that borders on the ritualistic An event causes him to reassess his life choices with the corresponding discomfort Here, too, Tyler excels at taking the quotidian and turning into to something interesting Deceptively simple, this novel is much than sum of its parts although the ending seemed slight.