“Promise of Departure” by L.W. Montgomery is a story of true guilt and regret in such a powerful dramatic setting. The main character leaves his wife and daughter to go help the people in Haiti that were devastated by the earthquake and has many varied experiences. In the course of this long trip, his memory is constantly triggered by certain events and he has flashbacks of previous bike trips with friends and other memorable events along the way. Whenever he has a new interaction, his thoughts wander back to his wife and daughter that he left behind.
Greg (the main character), tends to have so many experiences and encounters with different people, that it becomes somewhat difficult to follow. As his money begins to run out, his guilt mounts and he begins to question his decision to do what he thought would have been such an honorable thing. The man is clearly in a midlife crisis trying to recapture some of his past ideologies. He traipses across the torn Haitian countryside as a mechanic, hoping to help people, hoping to answer some calling that he thinks he has. But in the meantime, his friends and family think he has gone off the deep end. His idea of slipping out of his present life of owning a computer business and being wealthy turns sour and depressing in the end. He did what he wanted, what he thought was a humanitarian act. But in the end it just caused him and his family nothing but heartache and misery.
In the large scheme of things “Promise of Departure” by L.W. Montgomery is a sad novel that was sometimes difficult to follow and depressing to read. But then, life itself is not always a bed of roses, so in its defense, it does tell it like it is. I gave it a very favorable B on my scale.
Promise of Departure
L.W. Montgomery (2012)
Reviewed by William Phenn for Reader Views (11/12)