Running Away to Home: Our Family's Journey to Croatia

Posted: Tuesday, September 11, 2012, 9:13 am

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John O

Adults

Nonfiction

biography and memoir

In brief

4

When the American Dream goes horribly wrong, sometimes merely getting out of Dodge isn't enough.

In Field of Dreams, Kevin Costner's character moves to Iowa, does exactly what all his neighbors do (farms) until he hatches a hare-brained scheme that has them questioning his sanity. In Running Away to Home, Wilson lives in Iowa, does exactly what all her neighbors do (acquires stuff) until she hatches a hare-brained scheme that has her new neighbors questioning her sanity. In Field of Dreams, Costner is so moved that he maintains his customary stone face throughout. I, on the other hand, was moved to laughter and even a few tears by Wilson's tale.

While leaving Des Moines is a logical and healthy impulse, most of us wouldn't go so far as Mrkopalj, Croatia. Leaving behind the three grills and a shoe closet that rivals DSW, Wilson and her husband seek a more meaningful life in her ancestral home. Son Sam isn't so impressed and, like any red-blooded American child, pouts, yells and negotiates to get his way. As daughter Zadie says, "If Sam sells his Legos, he will not be happy anymore. He will not be Sam."

Does Mrkopalj hold the meaning of life? Can one subsist on a diet of Turkish coffee and pork products alone? Does Sam keep his Legos? What am I, the oracle of Worthington? Read it and find out and enjoy it for yourself. Just don't fall into Wilson's trap and try to sound out the phonetic place names. Trying to say anything more in Serbo-Croatian than hello (dobar dan) will only lead to frustration at best and lockjaw at worst.