Roastbeef's Promise
by David Jerome
Smack Books

"What-ifs can drive you crazy. I learned an important lesson that morning: losing, rejection – even humiliation – is easier to live with than what-ifs."

Take a dedicated son who sets out to fulfill his father's last wish and add an outrageous round-trip to make this wish come true, and you have the funniest story about healing that you will ever read. A mix between Roadtrip and The Bucket List, Jerome's Roastbeef's Promise seems made for the big screen. Roastbeef borrows trouble at every turn yet somehow perseveres to carry out what is undoubtedly the most selfless and complicated task of his life.

Roastbeef, so named for his childhood affinity for the home cooked meal, was adopted into a loving family with four other brothers and sisters. Before his father's passing, he asked Roastbeef to sprinkle his ashes within each of the forty-eight contiguous states. Because his father had dementia, Roastbeef's travels weren't sanctioned or otherwise supported financially or emotionally by the remaining siblings. This deals a severe blow to Roastbeef who was the youngest and probably least financially secure. In fact with no job, he found himself having to drop out of college for the sabbatical, and armed with no money, a beat up Hyundai (thanks to a dignitary from Chad), and only a pocket full of common sense, Roastbeef hits the road.

A joke writer for Jay Leno on The Night Show and a contributor to the The Irreverent Times, Jerome has a knack for creating humor in situations that would otherwise seem bleak. His description of the state by state journey has the reader wanting to pack up the RV for a cross country trip just to taste a little of what this nation has to offer. In fact, he nails the personality of each state and its occupants, even throwing in local flair with descriptive accents and local slang that evoke guilty laughter.

As the ashes are sprinkling cross country, easily identifiable landmarks are revealed in each state, even if the reader has only experienced them through television, books, or movies. College campuses, monuments, memorials, sports complexes, and even the grave of Elvis—no place is safe from a little ash sprinkle. Roastbeef finds himself in situations that while farfetched are somehow believable based on the naivety of his character. From a carjacking by a two-man motorcycle gang to a basement drug raid, a Vegas wedding, an out of control fraternity party, wedding crashing, and an old man who loses his oxygen tank while helping Roastbeef "ride the rails," this book offers a piece of Americana tied up nice and pretty with a hilarious red bow.

This is a must read. With colorful and refreshingly responsible humor, the story is appropriate for a wide array of audiences and ages. The book is filled with clever one-liners about the fate of the ashes and in turn Roastbeef, but their meanings ring true. It's a heartwarming story throughout—a tale of trust, dedication, and in some cases pure luck, and by the end, Jerome makes us cheer.

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