Road to Nowhere
Author: Christopher Pike
Rated D for a dark and stormy night for a drive with a couple of strangers
Death came along for the ride…
Teresa Chafey is running away. As she drives along the California coast she picks up a pair of hitchhikers, Freedom Jack and Poppy Corn. As they drive they share three stories of life and death. Of heartbreak and violent despair. What Teresa doesn’t know that these stories are connected. As they get further along and the more the stories unfold, Teresa grows more nervous with Free and Poppy. They seem to be hiding something and it’s leaving her uneasy.
Little does Teresa know that this drive may be her last.
Starting out, I expected this to be creepy and haunting. Which, it was, but not from the get-go or really overall. I picked this up at a book sale, needing a good scary story, knowing this wouldn’t scare me out of my wits, but it would be fun. It’s certainly different from the last book I read by Pike.
Legit though, picking up hitchhikers is sketchy as hell, and Teresa is braver than I’d ever be. There are so many ghost stories that prove picking up a hitchhiker is a BAD IDEA. Then again, when you’re driving around in limbo, you’re bound to meet a few people. LOL.
Poppy and Free whipped me back and forth, both leaving me uncomfortable nearly down to my core. With Free coming off as a carefree, no rules, living wild human, and Poppy the exact opposite with a side of sarcastic disdain, they were quite a pair. Both of them were working under Teresa’s skin to get to the heart of the story of why she left home with well-hidden intentions, working to guide her, but it was the way they didn’t give anything away, allowing me to figure out who they were by the end.
Everybody has a story. I reveled in the way Pike emphasized it with each one told and how they each differed yet connected through heartache. The way they were broken up and pushed the journey along was actually pretty chilling and mysterious. The further they got the darker they grew as did the drive. Pike had me going pretty good because I had no idea what was going on until it was happening. Teresa was doing much more than running away. In all honesty, I can’t blame her for running. If my boyfriend lit up my world, making me believe he really loved me and then took it away just as fast, I’d be feeling utterly crushed as well.
The storytelling wasn’t compelling, but it did keep my interest if only because I was wondering how long Teresa would last before her passengers killed her, and because I had no idea what was going to happen. Getting struck by unpredictability is always a marvel. Yet, it seemed like this wasn’t a ghost story as I thought, but a heartbreaking tale of three people who’d lost their way. It left empty a bit. Humanity and darkness at its finest. And the ending! A true encounter with life and death, that Teresa didn’t even realize she was hanging between. Quite stunning the way scary doesn’t always mean boogeymen and monsters.
A story that reaches out emotionally and psychologically. Is it on a major scale? No, but it got to me on a personal level. I can’t even say it’s truly scary, but it is heartbreaking for sure. Love hurts.
“If all matter in the universe can be condensed into a period doesn’t that mean we’re like nothing? Just spirits floating around on a ghost planet?” (Teresa to Bill, p. 21)
“Nowhere. Every other road led nowhere.” (p. 26)
“You can have love and still have plenty of pain. I’d say they usually go together.” (Poppy, p. 99)
“Leaving someone can be as hard as being left.” (Poppy, 126)
More to come soon…
P.S. Song today? Forever by Papa Roach.
Thoughts? Let’s chat in the comments below!