Friday, July 15, 2022

Fiction Review: A Lite Too Bright

My first audio pick for the #BigBookSummer Challenge was A Lite Too Bright by Samuel Miller. This unique book is officially listed as teen/YA, but I didn't realize that and think that anyone who likes thoughtful fiction would enjoy this novel. I thoroughly enjoyed listening to the intriguing road trip-mystery at the heart of this young man's search for his grandfather's legacy.

Eighteen-year-old Arthur Louis Pullman, III, is struggling with a series of disasters in his life, the cause of which only becomes clear later in the story. He's lost his girlfriend, his best friend, his car, and his scholarship. He has no idea what to do with his life now. His dad wants him to spend time with his aunt and uncle in the family home this summer, so he reluctantly accompanies him there. On his first night in the house, sleeping in his grandfather's old room, Arthur discovers a journal written by his grandfather, the original Arthur, a Salinger-like famous but reclusive author whose first (and only) novel is still read by high school students. Arthur's grandfather had Alzheimer's, and a week before his death, he went missing and was found dead many hundreds of miles from home in Ohio. Given his state of mind, with late-stage dementia, the journal is sort of stream-of-consciousness and not written in a straightforward way, but Arthur picks out enough meaning to pique his interest. Maybe there was more to his grandfather than his father and uncle knew. There's a clue in the journal, a mention of a small town in Nevada, so Arthur does exactly what his grandfather did five years earlier and leaves the house in California in the early morning hours without telling anyone, walks to the nearby train station, and heads to Nevada. In this way, Arthur begins to retrace his grandfather's last week of life, following his trail through Utah, Colorado, Kansas, and eastward, as he travels by train and meets people who knew or were affected by his grandfather. Along the way, he begins to unravel the deep mystery of his grandfather's early life as the search itself and what he learns also begin to help him heal.

I thoroughly enjoyed listening to this audio book, with its many layers. It's a mystery, a travelogue, a coming-of-age story, and also dips into history, as well. Narrator Michael Chamberlain does a great job of inhabiting young Arthur's mind and thoughts, as he journeys across the U.S. It's an adventure but one with deep meaning, about Arthur's family history, his grandfather's legacy, and even a broader shared history. As Arthur learns more about his grandfather, he also begins to acknowledge and make sense of what has recently happened in his own life. The mystery unfolds slowly, gradually--for the reader as well as for Arthur--making this a very compelling book, as Arthur follows the clues his grandfather left behind. I very much enjoyed it, and the ending was surprising (but in an "of course!" kind of way), fitting, and perfect.

480 pages, Katherine Tegen Books


This book fits in the following 2022 Reading Challenges:

Monthly Motif Challenge: Supporting Pride Through Books

Diversity Challenge

Literary Escapes Challenge - Nevada

Big Book Summer Challenge

Disclosure: I received this book from the publisher in return for an honest review. My review is my own opinion and is not influenced by my relationship with the publisher or author.


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Listen to a sample of the audiobook here and/or download it from Audible.


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Or you can order A Lite Too Bright from Book Depository, with free shipping worldwide.



  1. I haven't heard of this one before, but you make it sound like a really good read. Have a great weekend.

    1. I went into it blind, Helen, but I ended up really enjoying it!