Maya Angelou wrote a book called, Wouldn’t Take Nothing for My Journey Now. Well in The Forgotten Road (Richard Paul Evans), Charles James takes a long unexpected journey. He is a highly successful businessman who is presumed to have died in a plane crash. But as fate would have it, he did not board the flight because he ran back to get his bag.
Yet, when he decides to attend his memorial service in disguise, he sees that the place is basically empty. He realizes that it is the perfect time to use this opportunity to take a long walk. He sets out on the old Route 66 and his goal is to end up in California where he hopes to make amends with his former wife, Monica.
Each town teaches him something about the American landscape but more importantly, he has time to take a look within himself. He has a backpack full of cash because he is a multimillionaire so supply is no problem for him. He meets many interesting everyday people along the way and some leave greater imprints than others.
One woman saves his life by giving him a ride in a dangerous area. He rewards her richly. Another man makes him take a deeper look into his spiritual beliefs when he shares his near-death experience. Charles is left plenty of time to ponder his life more deeply and each encounter further pounds into his psyche.
Probably, the most memorable character is Eddie, a Mexican migrant worker. Charles is forced to live and work as a migrant worker after he was is robbed by a motorcycle gang. His soul is opened while living that life for a week. He sees how the workers have to take whatever they are given because they are undocumented and have no other recourse.
Ultimately he is forced to look at his father’s life towards whom he still harbored a strong resentment. His father, also a migrant worker, was harsh and treated Charles as he had been treated by his father. Charles soon realizes that those circumstances helped to shape him into becoming a financial success.
Now, if he would add a dose of humility, kindness and love, he could work towards becoming a whole person. He breaks down and calls his assistant, Amanda because he is out of cash. After she is slowly convinced that it is indeed him, she shows up at his hotel. She tells him that he has changed. She notices a greater calm and peace.
At the end of the book, Charles has only made it halfway across the country. Readers will have to wait for the sequel to see what happens when he gets to California. He fully intends to complete his walk which will end up at Monica’s doorstep at the end of Route 66!
Lynn M. August 4, 2018
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