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Christopher Pike’s ‘Highway to Nowhere’ is a darkish journey

Christopher Pike’s ‘Highway to Nowhere’ is a darkish journey
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Regardless of the title, highway to nowhere has a conclusive ending. And a strong one, at that. Christopher PikeThe 1993 1993 novel places its troubled protagonist behind the wheel and tracks her each transfer and thought as she drives alongside the California coast one fateful evening. The trail forward of her is unclear, however one factor is for certain – Teresa’s life won’t ever be the identical after she catches two hitchhikers alongside the best way.

In typical Pike trend, highway to nowhere begins close to the center and never initially. And the inciting incident that prompted Teresa Chafey to instantly take off is not clear till the final two chapters. All readers actually know to this point is that this 18-year-old is upset about one thing her (ex) boyfriend Invoice did, and she or he thinks operating away will make her really feel higher and him worse. After all, there may be all the time extra to the story than meets the attention. Teresa does say that “Invoice was one of many the reason why she was operating away”, however she additionally provides that he “wasn’t the one one, nor the most important”.

A naive driver giving a journey to strangers hardly ends properly in fiction, however Teresa feels misplaced and lonely. Her admittedly odd touring companions, those with a wealthy and tangled historical past, are the distraction she so badly wants from her personal troubles. And Freedom “Free” Jack and Poppy Corn are as enjoyable as they’ve distinctive names. They do not get alongside in any respect, nonetheless, their particular kind of fights means that they had been a pair in some unspecified time in the future.

To interrupt the ice and maintain issues energetic contained in the automobile, the 2 vacationers entertain Teresa with an extended, winding anecdote about their buddies, John Gerhart and Candice “Sweet” Manville. It is a story stuffed with heartache and shock, and lightweight and darkish. In return, Teresa reluctantly explains the reason for her surprising journey. No less than the one she consider be true. All of the whereas, Teresa’s left wrist mysteriously aches and her physique goes feverish with every leg of the lengthy journey.

Christopher Pike’s ‘Highway to Nowhere’ is a darkish journey

It isn’t onerous to grasp why Teresa can be so captivated by John and Sweet. Free describes them with deep data and keenness. These two intertwined souls met in school; John was poor, abrasive, and clever, whereas Sweet was wealthy, artistic, and liable to daydreaming. They ended up falling in love regardless of their variations, and till one very unhealthy day, they had been destined to be collectively. Sadly, this unlucky incident separated them for a number of years. From there highway to nowhere baring its fangs as John’s tragic life unfolds in excruciating element, and Sweet’s journey to maturity is one impediment after one other.

John and Sweet are put into hell. From shedding two fingers at work to changing into hooked on painkillers and heroin, John by no means will get a good probability at residing. And Poppy later explains how Sweet had an affair with a professor, acquired pregnant, and eventually flunked school. In contrast to John, nonetheless, Sweet manages to show issues round; she works onerous to turn out to be a nurse and maintain her son, makes amends along with her dad and mom and finds herself a steady man. That is why what occurs subsequent hurts particularly. Pike gathers the highschool sweethearts at a mini market, just for them to die in one another’s arms.

Free and Poppy’s epic story tends to eclipse all the things else highway to nowhere, together with the principle character. Nevertheless, as everybody approaches some kind of finish level, it turns into clear that the 2 strangers’ turbulent previous historical past has all the things to do with Teresa’s future. Amidst her companions’ shared narration, Teresa intermittently divulges her personal drama, starting with how Invoice betrayed her not as soon as, however twice. Not solely did Teresa’s ex-boyfriend go behind her again and audition her personal tune for a nightclub, Invoice additionally turned excited by Teresa’s finest pal Rene. It isn’t like she’s been blindsided by the emotional affair; she’s had a sense since Invoice and Rene met. Nevertheless, affirmation of their name sends Teresa spiraling; she offers in to her quick feelings and does issues she actually regrets.

Teresa going round in circles, by no means discovering a detour or arriving at a particular vacation spot after what looks as if an eternity is a giant trace of issues to return. The one different indicators of life all through this darkish and stormy evening are discovered first in a spooky citadel after which in an all-night Catholic church. Free accompanies Teresa to the citadel to fulfill her “mom”, a girl whose psychic skills assist Teresa perceive why Invoice moved to Rene and why her family members maintain her at arm’s size. And on the church the place Mass is well known in Latin through the lifeless of evening, Poppy asks Teresa to see her “father” and make a confession.

christopher pique

There’s a fixed battle between opposing forces in highway to nowhere. Whether or not it is good and evil, life and loss of life, or most significantly, the previous and the longer term, Teresa is caught in a mystical tug of struggle of her personal making. On the citadel, Teresa mentioned that she “didn’t wish to transfer on, not but” and “wished to higher perceive why her previous died the identical manner she did.” The church scenes characterize the longer term, or fairly what awaits Teresa as she continues on this path. She opens her coronary heart to the priest, admitting that she almost killed Invoice and Rene of their sleep, simply earlier than their journey. Solely when the priest asks if there may be extra to the story, one thing forgotten or denied, Teresa runs away and deprives herself of a special future.

The trio’s final cease is at a mini market, not not like the one the place John and Sweet died in a confrontation with the police. The occasions of their mortal reunion play out right here with variation; Free now factors the gun on the clerk, and Teresa is his confederate. Solely now Teresa lastly remembers what occurred after leaving Invoice’s home. The knife she deliberate to kill him and Rene with, she took residence and used on herself. Now, mendacity in a bath, clinging to life as a result of nobody is aware of she’s dying, Teresa bleeds from the identical wrist that ached all evening.

Christopher Pike takes the highway much less traveled in his novel. The creator may simply have served up a cat and mouse sport between driver and hitchhiker, however he delivers a gripping story of redemption with a substantial ethical twist within the tail. And whereas his contemporaries usually prevented faith of their younger grownup novels, the intrepid creator approached the topic, albeit in a roundabout manner. Readers could discover themselves extra drawn to the story-within-the-story; The narrative components of John and Sweet are super and worthy sufficient of their very own e-book. Nevertheless, its tragedy – actually Free and Poppy’s, if readers have not already seen – enhances Teresa’s personal journey. And in return, her private progress offers her passengers an opportunity to maneuver on from the previous.


There was a time when the youngsters’s part of bookstores was brimming with horror and suspense. These books had been simply recognized by their flashy fonts and gaudy cowl artwork. This exceptional sub-genre of YA fiction thrived within the 80s, peaked within the 90s, and eventually got here to an finish within the early 00s. YA horror of this kind is really a factor of the previous, however the tales stay on in Buried in a e-book. This recurring column displays on the nostalgic novels that also hang-out readers a long time later.

Christopher Pike

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