So, I was ‘chopping onions’….chopping onions, I tell you!! The last few pages were blurry. I had to stop, go wash my face and come back to the book. This book has zigzagged all across my heart, just as its protagonist zigzagged her way around the USA. I laughed, I sobbed and I cheered as I rooted for Coyote.
Coyote…full name: Coyote Sunrise and her dad Rodeo ( yes those are their names…all legal and everything) have been living in a refitted yellow school bus for the last 5 years. They go where ever they fancy, it may be a Taco calling or a Pork chop Sandwich, they think nothing about driving across multiple state borders to satisfy their cravings. Since Rodeo does not believe in cell phones, they use good old fashioned maps and Coyote calls her grandma from gas stations en route. Then, one phone call gives her the worst possible news, that her childhood park is going to be torn down. 5 years ago Coyote, her sisters and her Mother buried a memory box in that park. 5 years ago they made a promise to come back and dig up that memory box. 5 years ago she lost her mother and sisters in a road accident. Coyote needs to get from Florida to Washington State…in 4 days, covering 3600 miles. She schemes and devises a plan, because there is no way that her Dad will head back ‘home’…they’ve left those memories behind. But Coyote ‘is a girl with a promise. A promise she would do anything to keep.’ As they travel they pick up a host of travellers who go along with Coyote and Rodeo on this journey. Lester a young man torn between his love for music and his girlfriend, Salvadore and his Mom who are running away from a difficult past seeking a better future, Val a young woman who has run away from home because her parents don’t accept her ‘coming out’, a cat named Ivan (named after Coyotes favourite book The one and only Ivan) and Gladys…well, Gladys the house trained goat! This is a story filled with adventure, friendship, love, trust, coping with grief, acceptance, kindness, the meaning of ‘keeping a promise and ‘having someone’s back’.
“Sometimes trusting someone is about the scariest thing you can do. But you know what? It’s a lot less scary than being all alone.” “Maybe we're all a little broken. Maybe we're all a little fragile. Maybe that's why we need each other so much.” “There’s nothing like a good book for bringing folks together.”
“Give me a once-upon-a-time” is the call for a good story and both Coyote and Rodeo call one often.
Coyote Sunrise is a character who will stay with you for a long long time. So go get your ‘once-upon-a-time’….with ‘The Remarkable Journey of Coyote Sunrise’ by Dan Gemeinhart and keep that tissue box nearby.