cover image Last Stop on the 6

Last Stop on the 6

Patricia Dunn. Bordighera, $20 trade paper (286p) ISBN 978-1-59954-173-0

Dunn marks her adult debut (after the YA novel Rebels by Accident) with this enjoyable story of a woman’s return to her riotous Italian American family in the Bronx on the eve of the Persian Gulf War. During her 10-year absence in Los Angles, Angela Campanosi has secretly become a political activist. She left home after feeling responsible for an accident that left her younger brother, Jimmy, once a promising film actor, in a wheelchair. His upcoming nuptials spur Angela’s mother to send her a one-way ticket home. The timing couldn’t be worse, with Angela at the heart of a large antiwar demonstration, but she agrees to go out of guilt. Back home, Angela reunites with her parents (“Dad was the dreamer and Mommy was the sledgehammer who smashed those dreams into smithereens”); and her childhood friend and crush, Billy, who now works in her dad’s extermination business. But Jimmy is nowhere to be found. Though the answer to Jimmy’s whereabouts is anticlimactic, as is the eventual sibling reunion, there are plenty of colorful escapades, include Billy’s over-the-top sculpture exhibit inspired by his extermination work, and a loan shark on the hunt for repayment plus interest from Jimmy. Dunn’s homage to dysfunctional yet loving relationships comes alive with the inexorable pull of family. (Nov.)