A touching coming of age novel by Frank Morelli, On the Way to Birdland tells the story Cordell Wheaton, who takes on a soul-searching journey after his father and his brother Travis had a falling out. Bearing the heart and soul of a philosopher, Cordell has always felt alone and often engages in deep, profound thoughts. His brother is the only true friend that he has, and their mutual appreciation for John Coltrane’s music further strengthens their fraternal bonds. Travis, who often locks horns with their father, tells Cordell one day that he has had enough and is going to follow the sound—kind of like Coltrane when he followed his vision elsewhere. In his brother’s absence, their father falls ill, and Cordell, who never lost his love for music, decides to leave their small town to bring his brother back and make the family whole again. What he will come to learn during his journey, and perhaps the most important thing that he will ever learn, is that what a person envisions for himself is not often the way things turn out.
Cordell may strike you as being too mature a thinker for his age, but that is the beauty of his story. Considering his introverted personality and the circumstances surrounding the domestic crisis in his family that requires him to find balance demands that he should be. The storyline is deep when it comes to addressing issues of family, meaning, and the self. Just like jazz music that forms the core of the story, Frank Morelli has given On the Way to Birdland the vitality in prose that mirrors the individuality of characters. To say that the target readers of this tale are young adults would be an understatement for this story can very well appeal to readers from teens to adults who are way into their senior years. You have a simple but relatable plot where sympathetic characters operate, and what you get is a touching story that celebrates the courage of taking chances. If you have a penchant for deep introspection, this is the kind of story that will appeal to you.
-relatable plot and sympathetic characters
-addresses issues of family, meaning, and the self
-vitality in prose
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