Article first published as Book Review: ‘Runaway Mama’ by Gloria Boyd on Blogcritics.
“Runaway Mama” by Gloria Boyd tells the story of Kate, a stay-at-home mother trying to determine if there is more to her life than what she knows. Kate’s children are grown and have left the nest. After finding out that her husband Cliff had a fling with a twenty-something year-old girl while away on one of his many business trips, Kate is left with the feeling that she has never been able to live the life that she wanted, on her terms. She had already taken several higher education courses and done a lot of volunteering, so Kate decides to take up one more course called “developing new horizons for women” and decides to get a job at a travel agency. But that doesn’t last long – soon after starting her new job, Kate puts in her two weeks’ notice and Cliff is not happy.
Kate decides that she wants to take a road trip by herself, to do things her way without anyone interfering. What does she have to lose? Kate is determined to do things her way and reinvent herself, without Cliff’s permission.
I start digging into this novel and by chapter seven I realized I was re-reading the same chapters I had already read. For example, page 39 talks about Kate’s female boss and then Kate telling her husband about giving notice. Fast forward to page 60 and the same scenario is happening again. Page 53 talks about her children’s reactions to her “running away,” and then repeated on page 68. There are several other examples that I could give like this between chapters five and ten. From what I can tell (or assume) is that these chapters were written and then rewritten but not removed from the manuscript during the editing process. I was extremely disappointed about this section of the book because I had just begun to sink my teeth into the story and emotions of Kate. Throughout the book, I did notice a few other misspelled words but otherwise was fine.
Moving on into the story, I could easily relate to Kate’s character. As a mother, even though I am a bit younger than the character and not married, I fully understood the self-torment and being so dependent on my partner that I couldn’t figure out where my life stood. Many of us either know someone in a similar situation or have been there ourselves.
If I had to put together a soundtrack for “Runaway Mama” it would start with the country song “Is There Life Out There” by Reba McEntire from 1991. This novel reminded me of that song (that I just loved so much back then) and fits perfectly for explanation of what I feel Boyd was trying to deliver to her readers.
All in all, I did love “Runaway Mama” by Gloria Boyd and can feel the passion she has for storytelling. I just wish that the editing was more on point.