“Tommy’s Exodus”, the first of three novels, tells the story of a young veteran of the fighting in Afghanistan, who is back in California and starts to make his way from Los Angeles to his home in Sacramento. He experiences enough misfortunes for a lifetime along the way. Together with bad times, however, he meets people who console and advise him and do him good – a hospital therapist, a restaurant owner, a lawyer, a new girlfriend, a priest. Here are a few random thoughts:
- To an easterner who’s recently visited California, the narrative tone of “Tommy’s Exodus” seems to represent the famous spirit of the state well – good natured, easy-going, open, and inclusive rather than rigorous and strictly attentive to detail.
- The novel focuses on several themes or motifs – challenges that face young people, road stories, California history, hallucinatory drugs, police brutality, mental illness, unemployment, romance, and how to cope with people who do us evil.
- I like that the novel upholds values that have sustained our civilization for generations – generosity, love of neighbor, fairness, recognition of ordinary folks, and help for people in need.
- I particularly liked Robert Hobkirk’s appreciation for the Bible and the church. Though the author doesn’t say so, I wonder if Tommy’s passages from bad experiences to good several times is a sign that God will grow Tommy’s understanding in later volumes so that he will do good to others as well as himself.
- “Tommy’s Exodus” can be an inspiration to others to pursue and keep on with creative work.
- I suggest that if you start to read this novel you make a point of finishing it because there are interesting situations and good surprises between the beginning and the end.
To conclude, I’m discovering that the self-publishing movement is bringing us some worthwhile novels and this is one of them.