Emma Cross struggles to find success as a writer, as a wife and as a mother. When her father-in-law announces plans to move his late wife's body from California to Texas, she sees a chance to solve all of her problems. She'll document the move while exploring her late mother-in-law's mysterious life and connecting with her son and the man she left behind. More
Emma Cross, an aspiring writer and filmmaker, is finally living (or at least living close to!) her Hollywood dreams--so, why is she so miserable. When her husband announces he's had it with Hollywood and is determined to move on, Emma is frantic with the possibility of never making her mark, never actually succeeding in LaLa-Land. Her husband's family has decided to move Emma's late mother-in-law's long-buried body across the country (in the back of a pickup truck) and Emma decides this is an opportunity to put it all together. She'll make a movie about the body-move, become rich and famous for her striking insights and brilliant moviemaking, and at the same time learn something about her mother-in-law and the crazy family she's married into.
Emma doesn't admit it to her husband, Rob, but she also views the movie and the move as a last ditch effort to figure out what has gone wrong with her marriage and her life. A long-ago relationship continues to haunt Emma, making her wonder if she's made the wrong decisions, chosen the wrong path with her life.
As they journey across the country, from California to Texas, Emma attempts her documentary movie-making, but she learns more about her mother-in-law than she'd ever guessed possible--and discovers that her mother-in-law was similarly beset with doubts about her life and choices. Is Emma doomed to the same fate?
Author Cathy Richard Dodson creates an emotionally powerful story of a woman's coming of age, her regrets for all lost dreams, and her inability to put the past behind her. Dodson artfully depicts the mother-in-law's own regrets and failures to parallel Emma's increasing self-doubts, foreshadowing Emma's fate if she isn't able to move beyond her current 'stuck' state. Dodson's strong writing, her compelling characters, and the darkly humorous attempt to create a documentary film of moving a coffin across the country in a pickup truck create a memorable novel.