Smooth as homemade ice cream on a hot summer day, On the Road to Mr. Mineo's hits the sweet spot between plot, characterization, and good old-fashioned southern charm. If you make a list of the elements in this story - a one-legged pigeon, a stray dog, a bickering elderly couple, a bossy little girl and her co-dependent sidekick, a small town - you wouldn't think you'd have much of a story. Fortunately, Barbara O'Connor weaves these ordinary characters, settings, and situations into a pleasant and often whimsical novel.
As the residents of Meadville, South Carolina become entranced with the evasive pigeon, the reader becomes involved in the personalities of several of the townfolk. The plot is slow and steady, giving equal space to several characters and situations. Readers will enjoy the way that O'Connor gradually combines the plot lines to create a satisfying conclusion. And no, the dog doesn't die!
Barbara O'Connor's writing craft is on full display here; each word and phrase adding to the plot and character development. On the Road to Mr. Mineo's would be a great novel for a literature unit, because it clearly demonstrates what good writing is all about.