“State Highway One", written by Sam Coley, is an emotional and thought provoking novel set in the North and South Islands of New Zealand, and Dubai. After their parents’ tragic car accident, the story follows two twins named Alex and Amy as they race around New Zealand in an effort to heal, cope with their grief, and find peace. All the while, they discover who they really are and where their home truly is.
Due to the way it examines the concepts of family, home, and identity, “State Highway One” is an interesting and engaging text for Year 12 students. Sam Coley accomplishes this by focusing on important themes like dealing with grief and guilt, as well as how difficult it is to accept certain aspects of life. My family is very important to me, and reading this book made me consider how lost I would be without them. Because of this, I felt a strong sense of empathy for Alex throughout the entire story. Even though I couldn’t begin to imagine the suffering and grief he endures, I could still see why he acted the way he did—as though he were perpetually avoiding his problems and denying himself the chance to reflect on how he felt. This is interesting to me because it demonstrates how Alex deals with guilt and, perhaps more importantly, how we should not. We are at a time in our lives when a great tragedy could have a profound effect on our lives and our behavior. “State Highway One” taught me that everyone processes grief and deals with it in their own unique way.
Sam Coley’s use of the key idea, home, in the book “State Highway One” made it an interesting read for me as well. My home is a significant part of the world I live in and my life because it allows me to be who I am, spend time with my family, and relax. To me, having a home or even just a sense of a home is extremely important. The fact that Alex isn’t really sure where his home is revealed throughout the story, and it helps us comprehend how he acts and who he really is. Before the start of the book, Alex runs away from home and relocates to Dubai, where he accepts a job at a company that likes to work hard but also party hard. He feels somewhat at home in Dubai, but the unexpected and shocking passing of his parents makes him realize that he isn’t really at home in Dubai or anywhere else. Sam Coley uses Alex’s absence of a home to help the reader better understand him as a character. Because home is so important to me, I could imagine what it would be like to completely lack such a crucial component of life, which deepened my empathy for Alex, and made the book a much more engaging read.
We learn important lessons from “State Highway One” about the value of feeling at home and the behaviors that can result from grief. Because I believe that having a home is a very important part of life in a world where we are frequently very busy and stressed out, not only because it provides us with a roof over our heads, but also because it provides us with a place where we can feel comfortable and at ease and like we are exactly where we are supposed to be. In Alex’s case, it is less about a physical structure and more about having the sense that he is exactly where he is supposed to be and where he feels at home. Alex’s use of drugs and alcohol, as well as his behavior, may be a result of his lack of a place to call his own and feel secure, or they may be a result of his loss of identity and the grief he feels for his parents. People who are grieving may act in ways they wouldn’t normally do so in an effort to distract themselves or simply run away from their emotions. “State Highway One” is a very interesting and engrossing novel to read because Sam Coley’s writing makes a significant effort to convey to readers the value of home and the effects that grief can have on a person.