Book Review – Yesterday Road by Kevin Brennan

“If we could just forget the lousy things and keep the wonderful things up front.”

Self-publishing has a problem. A sticky, smelly problem that’s hard to wash off because the stain of poor writing is so embedded, like the smell of garlic in a French chef’s pores. That’s unfortunate because in many cases, there’s no stain at all. In fact, in its place, one can sometimes find a manila envelope full of cash that could even serve as a comfy pillow.

Yesterday Road is a prime example of all of the good things about self-publishing. It showcases an author who treats his work like his baby, making sure it not only has clean diapers and is presentable to the world, but I’ll be damned if it doesn’t sing and dance as well. If I could ensure that every reader’s introduction to the new paradigm was this book, I would.

We’re treated to a wonderful journey with the primary focus on that of an old man whose memory is failing him and only a vague notion of where he’s headed. He crosses paths with all sorts of personalities–the most prominent being a mentally disabled boy-man with a big heart and a waitress coming to terms with regrets and responsibility. A cast of minor characters highlight the sometimes dark, sometimes humorous tale of someone seeking identity, who he is and who he was.

Brennan writes in a conversational tone that never gets in the way of the story, but hits all the right notes at the right time. For me, the deep character introspections were highlights.

If you haven’t read this yet, please do, even if you’re normally not a fan of something termed “literary fiction.” I read in many genres, so this wasn’t a problem for me, but for those who rarely step outside their comfort zone–good writing is good writing and Yesterday Road is one place to find it.

I’ve always considered Kevin a friend in the Great Land of Blog, but now he can call me a fan.


0 thoughts on “Book Review – Yesterday Road by Kevin Brennan

  1. Nice review. I’ll check it out.

    I agree that self-published books are more often ‘misses’, than ‘hits’, but it sure is nice when you get a ‘hit’! I’ve recently read several self-published books that could have easily been published by any of the major houses. I guess, it is just a matter of finding ’em.

    1. Well said, Nila. ‘Hits’ like these certainly restore my faith in the notion that good self-published writers exist. Like you said, just need to find ’em! Just curious, what other self-pubbed books have you read recently that you’d recommend?

      1. Hollow World by Michael J Sullivan
        Wolves in Paris by Michael Wallace
        The Cutting Room (entire series) by Edward W Robertson (time-travel, more science fantasy than science fiction, but still very engaging and a satisfying read)
        The God-Blasted Land by (too YA for me to continue with the series, but it was a fast, fun, light read)

        With the exception of Hollow World, I wouldn’t say these are great reads, but definitely good, fun and quick reads.

        I just noticed that those four do not include any indie female authors…I will have to make amends this coming year!

        1. Thanks for the recommendations Nila. Looks like three more I need to pick up!

  2. Great review, Phillip! I’ve got Yesterday Road on my list to read this year. I did read, Our Children Are Not Our Children, last year and I really like Kevin’s style.
    Happy New Year!

    1. Thank you Jill! Try to bump this one up the pile if you’re so inclined. It’s really worth it. 🙂

  3. Reblogged this on What The Hell and commented:

  4. Love this review! Phillip, you say it so well: “It showcases an author who treats his work like his baby, making sure it not only has clean diapers and is presentable to the world, but I’ll be damned if it doesn’t sing and dance as well.”

    1. Thank you Marie. 🙂 Hope you have a fantastic weekend!

  5. Yes, yes, and yes! You hit it, Phillip. “Yesterday Road” is a step far above most self-published works. It’s a shiny high-heeled shoe among scuffed slippers. I really wish it were more difficult to publish. I mean, we have to have a license to drive. Shouldn’t we at least be tested for basic grammar and writing/reading skills before being able to publish a book? Regardless of my little rant, “Yesterday Road” is worthy of recognition. Much, much recognition.

    1. Thank you Cinthia! I’m glad I finally decided to put this one at the top of my TBR pile, no doubt!

  6. I really enjoyed your review. I like a journey story, so I’ll check it out.

    1. Thanks Linda. I really think you’ll enjoy Kevin’s book.

  7. Great review, I confess I was put off reading this by the author lamenting that book readers don’t choose ‘literary fiction’ anymore, but your review suggests that this is a great read which is what matters!

    1. Thank you for stopping by! Yeah, just ignore those curmudgeonly anti-genre comments (j/k Kevin 🙂 ) and buy this book. Not only was the story interesting, but the characters were memorable which I think, in the end, is what sticks with most of us after reading a good book.

      1. Too true. I rarely choose books by genre and sometimes I’m not even quite sure what genre some books fit into but if it has a good story and characters I’ll read it! 🙂

  8. Great review. I will put it on my list of books to read. As a self publishing author myself, I couldn’t agree more with the need to treat our work with care, and ensure it gets good editing. This sounds like a must read!

    1. Definitely a must-read and well worth supporting a fellow self-publisher who sets a good example! Thanks for stopping by Lyle.

  9. I agree with everything here, Phillip. This was a great book and a gem of a self published novel. It is a gem because it holds itself to professional standards which, in my opinion, is what all fiction, self published or not, should aspire to be

    1. Your last sentence says it all Jex! 🙂

  10. Nice review. I’ve read the book as well and your review is spot on. Thanks.

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