Follow TV Tropes


Literature / There's More Than One Way Home

Go To
There's More Than One Way Home is a 2017 novel by Donna Levin.

Anna Kagan is chaperoning a field trip to Minotaur Island when her ten-year-old autistic son, Jack, goes missing, along with his classmates Dylan Shumacher, Tyler Gaines, and Cesar Ruiz. When the boys are found, Tyler is dead, and Dylan and Cesar say Jack has killed him by accident.

There's More Than One Way Home contains examples of:

  • 20 Minutes into the Past: The book is set in mid-2004.
  • And I'm the Queen of Sheba: Anna's husband Alex hears that the boys went off to look for marijuana plants. He grumbles, "They get all this from 'medical marijuana,' you know. It sends such a rotten message to kids. If pot isn't a gateway drug, I'm George Bush."
  • Artistic License History: A minor example. Jack makes a reference to Pluto not being a planet anymore, although Pluto wasn't demoted until 2006. However, the notion of Pluto not qualifying as a planet was discussed even before then.
  • Awful Wedded Life: Anna and Alex no longer like each other. They do their best to stay out of each other's way, even at the parties they attend together.
  • Born in the Wrong Century: Anna thinks that Jack's unpleasant teacher Kristin Scarborough could have had a fulfilling career accusing people of witchcraft in seventeenth-century Salem. Instead she's stuck teaching fourth grade.
  • Brains and Brawn: Dylan is an athlete, and Cesar is a nerd. They've been best friends for years.
  • Character Tics: Jack repeats the last word of each sentence in a sing-songy whisper. He also flaps his hands while watching TV.
  • Cry into Chest: Anna cries into Valentine's chest before they kiss.
  • Daddy DNA Test: Anna spends two years believing that Alex has had a vasectomy, meaning Marissa's father is Val. When she learns that in fact he was fertile the entire time, she suggests a DNA test, but Alex doesn't care about Marissa's paternity.
  • Desk Sweep of Rage: Alex rage-swipes his chess set after reading a newspaper article that accuses him of botching the investigation against Jack.
  • A Dick in Name: Anna's five-year-old niece doesn't understand this trope, or why it applies to her mother's last boyfriend.
    Callaghan: His name was Dick and she kept saying it was the perfect name for him. What did she mean? I asked Magdalena if it meant something in Spanish but she said no. Does it mean something in French?
  • Dies Wide Open: Tyler stares emptily as a cop attempts CPR on him.
  • Disappeared Dad: Anna once told a story at the Police Education Banquet about the policeman in her childhood neighborhood who kept an extra watch on her house after her dad left.
  • Doesn't Know Their Own Child: Anna's sister Darya is so neglectful she can't remember if her son Kennedy is two or three.
  • Everything Sounds Sexier in French: Val calls Anna "Anna Banana," to her annoyance. He tries "Petite Anne Banane," which she admits sounds much better. He keeps using "Anne Banane" throughout the book.
  • Grade Skipper: Cesar has already skipped one grade. He could skip another, but his mother doesn't want him to miss his friends.
  • Hollywood Autism: In-universe example. At the meeting for parents whose kids go to Jack's school, the parents start telling horror stories about mindless, violent autistics who need to be locked up for everyone else's safety.
  • I Made Copies: Nora shreds Jack's treasure map of Minotaur Island. Then Anna announces that that was a photocopy, and the real map is still on her.
  • Lie Back and Think of England: Anna has her own version for sex with Alex: "Close your eyes and think of the next election."
  • Madonna-Whore Complex: Anna thinks that she suffers from the female version - the Daddy-Stud complex. It's the reason she isn't attracted to Alex.
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: Jack's real first name is Jacob, but everyone's called him Jack since early childhood.
  • Pirate Booty: Jack says that the other boys told him they were looking for buried treasure.
  • Security Blanket: Jack carries a black pawn in his pocket to fidget with.
  • Show Within a Show: Jack is obsessed with a Power Rangers-esque show called Crime Conquerors, about a group of high schoolers chosen to act as color-coded superheroes.
    The forerunner of Crime Conquerors was a Japanese program and the American version used some of the same stock footage. In every episode a new monster tore down a street full of cardboard high rises. By the following episode the high rises had not only been rebuilt to identical specifications but formed a skyline that rivaled Chicago's. The stock footage made the Godzilla movies look like Citizen Kane, but I found it even more amusing that intergalactic villains would choose as their primary target for destroying the earth Bedford Falls, the small Midwestern town in which the series was set.
  • Stiff Upper Lip: Tyler's parents maintain an air of dignity and calm even as they walk behind the gurney carrying their son's bodybag.
  • Waving Signs Around: Protestors gather outside the Kagans' house, waving signs that say things like "PROTECTION FIRST" and "MURDER IS STILL A CRIME" and demanding that Jack be punished for killing Tyler, until the police break up the protest for creating a public nuisance.
  • Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: Alex is terrified of dogs, even Chihuahuas.