How far would you go to bring back someone you love?
Crossroads is the first book I’ve read by Laurel Hightower and it devastated me. I don’t think I’ve ever highlighted so many quotes on my Kindle as I did with this book. I’ve come to accept that grief/emotional horror sticks with me the most (see also: Pet Sematary, Westlake Soul).
This story follows Chris, a mother who has recently lost her son in an accident. She regularly visits her son’s roadside memorial, and one day, accidentally spills a drop of her blood onto the ground at the foot of the cross. Soon after, she starts to see her son’s ghost, but she knows it won’t last. What follows is a grieving mother’s journey to see her son.
As a parent, this story is my worst nightmare. I think I saw this mentioned in another review, but it described my thoughts perfectly: the way Hightower incorporates thoughts/memories of her son into near every thought she has, wove this story of grief together so perfectly. It’s hard to imagine something I wouldn’t do just for a chance to see a loved one again, so while Chris wonders if she’s going crazy in the story, it is really easy to put yourself in her shoes and know that she isn’t.
She looked back when she heard the leaves rustling behind her. She smiled. Anyone else would have called it a breeze, but she knew better. She knew her own boy’s voice.
When I saw the cover of Crossroads revealed by Off Limits Press and read the synopsis I knew there’d be a shift in my TBR pile as this one moved up the list. It feels like a coincidence now that I started this book the same day it was brought up on my favorite podcast, The Final Guys, where Tim Meyer mentioned that it seems very personal for Laurel. Reading the first few paragraphs of this novella, proves Tim’s comments immediately true. I wanted to put the book down to give my son a hug before the first chapter was over.
The last thing I want to mention about the book is that there are other characters/relationships in the book. Even though the book is short, these characters are deep and well thought-out. The discussion’s with Chris’s mother especially stood out to me, and while I don’t relate exactly, Chris’s sentiment toward the situation make me want to be a better person, father, friend, husband - all of it. Her perspective on where burdens lie is something I’ve long believed but she really articulated it well in her writing and it became one of my biggest takeaways.
She was tired, and she was hurting, but as ever, that wasn’t his burden to bear.
I’ve been following Laurel on Twitter for a while now. I listen to her regularly on the Ink Heist podcast. I say this because when reading this book, I’m hearing the words in her voice. I’ve never experienced something like this before, and I hope that if an audio book is released for Crossroads that Laurel will consider narrating it - she’d be perfect.