Button Top Books (2008)
Reviewed by Beverly Pechin for Reader Views (11/09)
I was pleasantly surprised with the writing style of Richard Ide as he so easily weaved the lives of truck driver Abner Weaver, lost and complicated soul Dawn, and a mutt of a dog into a story that keeps your attention at every turn of the page.
The easy-reading style glides the reader through the pages of the book as if you were watching it on the big screen, flowing quickly and intensely as the lives of Abner and Dawn draw together into an amazingly tender relationship that’s totally unexpected of this Viet Nam Vet and a gambling-addicted, hard-shipped mother of a beautiful young girl who can’t understand why her own mother seemingly can’t give her the love she so strongly desires. As with most any story, you add the undying love of a mutt dog and there’s bound to be a bit of choking up, laughing, and even feeling amazement as the story takes twists and turns throughout – never quite giving you an assured ending until literally the last few pages.
Abner Weaver works for Groff Trucking, probably the scum de la scum of trucking companies, and suddenly realizes that not only is this company going under but it’s going under fast. He needs to find answers and a way to keep afloat but more than that, his way of life on the road keeps him from going nuts; the one thing he fears most as a post-war vet of Nam. Suddenly he meets up with a young woman whom he has absolutely no intentions of taking along with him for the long haul, let alone falling in love with but then again, even the best of intentions can be altered in the blink of an eye. Suddenly this lost soul of a woman, beautiful and smarter than she sometimes lets on, finds her way not only into his truck but into his heart and mind. She can even quickly talk this hard-core loner into not only saving a struck dog on the highway, but allowing him to become part of what quickly becomes a team. As they run the roads together, growing and learning, they both realize that they aren’t the loners they thought they were but can truly depend upon and rely upon each other to get make their lives complete. Abner even takes on the idea of owning his own rig, especially now that he has a “partner” to help him out and it all seems to look pretty darn good on the books. But how long will it last? How much can they handle? And what happens when an addict, like Dawn, gets pulled into the world that ate her own life up as a child only to lure her as an adult again?
One of the most tender moments of the book to me was when Abner realizes how much he cares about Dawn, making sure he never sleeps with her in the sleep cab for weeks and finally realizes he has to “come clean” why he fears allowing her to sleep next to him. His post traumatic stress syndrome plays a huge part in why he has remained a loner for so long and his fear of hurting her during a night terror or flashback during his sleep truly seems to be the moment when you, as the reader, are brought into the realization of how very sweet and kind-hearted this gruff and grumpy man really can be. You flounder back and forth, questioning her intentions at time, while at other moments there’s no doubt the love that she holds deep in her heart for this man who has given her a chance in life to make the change she needs. The question is, will she blow that chance all for a game of chance or will she learn to walk away?
Intense, endearing and dramatic, this story, “3 Aces” by Richard Ide will bring a lump to your throat a few times throughout the reading. And in the end, you will question exactly how strong love can really be when you hook up a loner, post-traumatic vet truck driver, a gimpy mutt of a dog and a woman with more baggage than a freight train. Sometimes the stakes are just higher than you can imagine in that last draw of the card.