The two main characters, Jaycee and Bud, share similar emotional challenges, but were raised in very different environments. Both are extreme narcissists, egocentric, self-indulgent magpies with no likeable qualities. Both lost their mothers when they were very young, and both complain of fathers who do not love them.
Jaycee was born and raised in a small Alabama town. She grew up poor and quickly learned to fend for herself; her father was to busy with booze to take care of or even notice her.
Bud grew up in a very affluent environment in Florida. But Bud felt neglected; his brothers all took after their father, playing football, and running the family business. However, Bud was more interested in Baseball and college. These two unpleasant misfits meet in college and quickly realize they were made for each other. The story follows Jaycee and Bud as they make a life together and each learns to love and act selflessly.
The book is well written; however, there are several places (primarily at the beginning) where the author’s voice breaks into the narrative, to fill gaps. For example, in the first chapter, Jaycee’s character and brief history are delivered point by point in a couple of paragraphs. This reader would prefer to learn about the characters, from the characters, let the history unfold as needed.
Also, the book suffers from ‘bad blurbs’. When I first read the back cover, I was very turned off of the book; however, the story is edgy, fast-paced and colorful.
The ending is a bit of a let down, a little too fairly-tale perfect. The story overall has a hard-hitting edge and the smell of reality, but late in the story, Jaycee has several ‘near death experiences’ that push the story into the realm of fantasy. So if you are turned off by Christian mythos or spirituality then skip those parts, they don’t add to the story or characterizations anyway.
Overall, Different Roads is an entertaining book. I will recommend it and plan to look for more by Joyce Sterling Scarbrough.