Rob Radkovitz has spent his whole life only knowing his radio announcer father through a cassette tape his father made for him right before leaving. Lenny, Rob’s father, wasn’t ready to be a parent. Rob was raised by his single mother, living with his maternal grandparents. In their house, he has been treated as an adult. His interests are encouraged and treated with respect, but he is dissatisfied, feeling the absence of his father greatly. As he grew up, Rob became increasingly obsessed with locating his father over the radio. Because his father was originally from Louisiana, he accumulates information about the state, even weather reports. He eventually owns more and more high-tech radio and broadcasting equipment, and develops great skills navigating the airwaves, gradually increasing the distance he is able to search. Eventually he and his friends broadcast their own independent station, only to have Rob’s father respond to a call-in they request from their listeners. Finally achieving the contact he thought he wanted, Rob must decide if he wants his dad in his life.
Written as an autobiography for a class assignment, and told in a multi-voice format, the book is record of memorable sounds for Rob Radkovitz. At first the multi-voice format was frustrating. It disrupted my ability to read smoothly, and forced me to go back several times so that I could be sure I had attributed something to the correct character. I think it would be a very good audiobook.
Eventually I got caught up in the story, and I really enjoyed the main character, Rob. He was written as such an interesting person, and I found myself wishing that he would locate his dad. When his father finally did phone him, I was so happy for him. Part of me was hoping for the Disney-style happy ending where he’d have this great relationship with his father, but part of me was hoping that he would be able to accept that this man didn’t need to be part of his life. (I'm not telling what actually happens--you have to read it yourself!) I also appreciated the addition of characters, like Rob's grandparents, who added necessary humor to a book that could have been quite sad.
I would absolutely recommend this book.