Call Me When You Land
“The subject matter of Call Me When You Land might seem dark and depressing, but it’s not. It’s funny and human and real. The author writes his characters so well that he makes you want to reach out and shake some sense into them as they struggle with day-to-day crap. Michael Schiavone’s novel will cause you to wince and laugh and—if you have a beating heart—actually shed a tear here and there as you follow this bumpy family drama.”
Right off the bat in Michael Schiavone’s book, Call Me When You Land, you get the idea that Katie Olmstead likes to drink—although she certainly doesn’t seem to be enjoying herself while she does it. While most moms enjoy a glass or two of chardonnay in the evenings, Katie knocks back cocktails like other women drink Diet Coke.
She has a problem with the drink, but that’s only one of them. She has an ex-boyfriend who only uses her for sex, a talent for painting that appears to have taken leave, and reoccurring memories of a terrible childhood that she can’t seem to shake.
Michael Schiavone paints a realistic and compassionate picture of a sad and tired woman who is trying to raise her son, take care of a dying uncle, and keep her head above water financially in this economically challenging world.
Kind of like real life.
Katie uses alcohol to hide the pain and avoid reality all the while denying that she has a drinking problem. By her reasoning: as long as she can drive to work, hold a conversation, and make it home in one piece, then she isn’t an alcoholic. Waking up on the bathroom floor or being pulled over by a cop in the middle of the day for driving drunk doesn’t seem to register with her, but it sure does with her only child.
Her son C. J., whom she has raised alone since he was a baby, has turned from a loving, clingy boy into the average moody teenager. The type who would rather hide in his room, than talk to his mother. But their problems escalate to a new level when C. J.’s estranged father Craig dies and leaves C. J. a motorcycle in his will.
While the premise may sound a little too close to reality for some people, this book grows on you quickly—like you’ve taken a shot of tequila, it makes you sit up and take notice. Yes, life is tough for 99 percent of the people out there in the world, but let’s see how it turns out for Katie and C. J.
The motorcycle immediately causes more problems than the Olmstead family can bear. It’s not exactly a practical gift for a kid in high school. To Katie, the motorcycle represents everything that’s wrong about C. J.’s dad. She’s afraid if her son learns to ride the bike he will leave her—something she dreads will happen sooner than later.
C. J. resents Katie’s drinking and makes sure she knows. Katie can’t communicate with her son, drunk or sober. Uncle Walter smokes pot to keep the pain from his cancer at bay, yet he is the mediator of the family. And then there is meddling, snooty rich Caroline, Katie’s wealthy and successful sister who drives her crazy. So there you have it. The 21st century American family.
Interestingly, what keeps the reader moving forward are the twists and turns involving the Harley-Davidson Road King. A motorcycle offers freedom and thrills—things that everyone wants to experience at least once in their lives. Katie and the rest of this motley crew deserve to not only survive, but also to become a loving family once again.
The subject matter of Call Me When You Land might seem dark and depressing, but it’s not. It’s funny and human and real. The author writes his characters so well that he makes you want to reach out and shake some sense into them as they struggle with day-to-day crap. Michael Schiavone’s novel will cause you to wince and laugh and—if you have a beating heart—actually shed a tear here and there as you follow this bumpy family drama.