Introducing Marilyn Kriete
Where did the idea for the story come from?
My life! I knew I had a story worth telling, full of twists, turns, colourful characters and places, and an inspirational journey.
Give a quote from the books, one that says little but speaks volumes.
I learn, too late, that there are vital reasons for going through the rituals of funerals and memorials, and that failing to do so, even to honour the wishes of the deceased, comes at a heart-breaking cost.
Summarise your book in ten words or less.
Running away; seeking, finding, and losing love; unexpected answers.
What genre is it?
How many pages is it?
Why do you think the readers will want to read it?
Readers who like romantic, tragicomic stories about travel, spirituality, and self-discovery will enjoy this memoir.
Where are you located?
Kelowna, BC, Canada
A restless child of the 1960s, Marilyn yearns for love, hippiedom, and escape from her mother’s control. At 14, she runs nearly a thousand miles away to Vancouver, British Columbia, eventually landing herself in a Catholic home for troubled girls. At 16, she’s emancipated, navigating adulthood without a high school diploma, and craving a soulmate. When she falls in love with Jack, the grad student living next door, life finally seems perfect. The two embark on a cross-continental bicycle trip, headed for South America, but before they reach Mexico, Jack dies. Utterly shattered, Marilyn does the hardest thing she can imagine: a solo bicycle trip, part tribute, part life test. She conquers her fears but goes wildly off course, chasing her heart as she falls into a series of tragicomic rebounds. Two itinerant years later, a chain of events in Montana’s Bitterroot Mountains leads to a peace she never expected to find.
Reminiscent of Wild and Travelling with Ghosts, Marilyn’s journey portrays a life unmoored by grief, brought to shore again. Paradise Road was selected as the International Pulpwood Queens and Timber Guys Book Club’s International Book of the Month for March 2021.
Taken from Chapter 6: The Kindness of Strangers
So many firsts! I’d never been in a cop car or a police station, never been shuffled from one hard plastic chair to the next, never been interrogated by one heartless cop after another, never been fingerprinted or strip-searched or given a bottle of lice shampoo and ordered to shower under the contemptuous gaze of a warden. And I’d never had such a long, hellish drug trip, a trip that lasted almost 20 hours, absorbing and amplifying every ounce of bad energy coming at me. There wasn’t a single smile or a glimmer of compassion from any of the uniforms that night. Laura and I were criminals, and they split us up the moment we reached the station to make sure we suffered alone through our arrest and incarceration.
I also hadn’t known that a juvenile detention centre is essentially a jail, and a harsh one at that. The strip search and the supervised, cold shower set the welcoming tone. Then another hostile warden, furious that I’d interrupted her night rest, confiscated my clothing, threw me a pair of scratchy, over-bleached pajamas, and locked me, alone and still tripping, into a pitch-black room.
It was probably two or three a.m. by now, and I’d been in full-blown panic since the cops had materialized. Now, alone in the dark, fear ate me alive. No one had told me that mescaline trips could last almost a full day. There was nothing to tether me, no sane or reassuring thought I could think of to stop the fear, and no chance of sleeping even a few hours before my first day in juvie began. I was doomed, reduced to reliving all the foolish decisions that had landed us here – if I could even think straight.
By six in the morning, the mescaline had worn off, replaced with a new layer of dread as another grim-faced warden delivered my prison garb: a boxy, short-sleeved, faded cotton blouse; a pair of cheap, ill-fitting canvas shoes; and the ugliest pair of jeans I’d ever worn. Everything reeked of bleach and ammonia. Apparently part of the punishment was to make us feel as hideous and discomfited as our supposed crimes deserved.
In the dining hall I found Laura, every bit as sleep deprived and miserable as I, where a pasty breakfast of lumpy creamed wheat and stale slices of white bread awaited us. Our fellow inmates looked as pale and listless as the food. After breakfast it was time for chores – the sole morning activity. I was assigned to scour the long basement hallway with ammonia and steel wool, while Laura was banished to fold clothes in the overheated laundry room. We met at noon for a joyless lunch of white bread and bologna sandwiches. Everything about the center was oppressive, even the so-called ‘free time’ in the afternoon. After lunch, all the inmates were herded into a stark common room with nothing but hard furniture and each other’s sad histories to occupy us. If our captors couldn’t break us with bad food, scratchy clothing, and mind-numbing chores, they’d do it with boredom.