Terry Davis’ novel, A Long Road Home, opens with Julie Barnes, the 17-year-old protagonist, running away from an orphanage. Julie doesn’t know where she is going, only that she wants to get away. Julie’s lack of direction is reflected in the structure of Davis’ novel, which wavers between porn and sadism, and occasional vignettes that verge on broader substance.
One such vignette occurs when an old man gives Julie a lift while she is hitchhiking in Peru. He takes her to a café and buys her a cup of coffee. Neither speaks the other’s language, but there is a kind of communion between them as they sip their coffee.
For the most part, however, Davis’ novel simply moves from one sexual episode or violent scene to another. The characters are stereotypical and their thoughts, if described at all, are superficial. After Julie leaves the orphanage, she stays with a group of hippies who introduce her to a world of sensuality. While she is with the hippies, she is raped by ruffians — the first of many rapes that occur throughout the novel.
Eventually, Julie leaves the hippies and marries Leroy, a drug dealer. Although he is kind to Julie, Leroy takes a sadistic pleasure in torturing those who cross him. When Leroy brings Julie on a drug trafficking trip to Peru, they are caught and imprisoned. Julie is raped while in prison and again during her journey to escape Peruvian authorities. Finally, she makes her way back to England where she has Leroy’s baby.
The author warns on the back book cover: “Parts of this story contain explicit sexual and violent scenes, which are essential to the plot. IF YOU ARE OFFENDED BY EITHER [sic] DO NOT READ THIS BOOK.” Readers should take him at his word. A Long Road Home appears to have been written for titillation. It will appeal to those who seek it, while others would be advised to look elsewhere.
Also available in hardcover and ebook.