“Stashes”

“Stashes” by PJ Colando can be described in one word “hilarious.” The Breeden family, Jackie and Steve, live in Michigan and run an organic dairy farm. Jackie works in the cafeteria at the local school, and Steve runs the farm full time after losing his job at GM. Their son Brandon also works at GM after a failed football career, and his wife Amy is a bank executive. This all seems quite ordinary, and perhaps a bit tedious, but I assure you nothing about this whole family is conventional or dull.

When Brandon loses his job at GM, Jackie and Steve buy a Winnebago/Off-We-Wanna-Go motor home and leave the Brandon and Amy to run the family farm. The entire family spirals into a comical abyss of counter culture, economic disasters, and travel trauma that is both outlandish and absolutely believable.

The narrative style is peppered with popular culture references and mid-western vocabulary. The point of view alternates between the third person narrative of  the  senior Breedens  and their adventures frolicking across the country in the motor home, and the first person view of Amy and her strategic planning down on the organic farm.  

“Stashes” is exciting because the characters are. The Breedens are naive but at the same time world wise. They are worried and yet carefree. Above all, they are devoted to each other and to football. Every reader knows people just like the Breedens; every reader is one of the Breedens, but no one will admit it.

“Stashes” by PJ Colando is uproarious and quick to read. From the Wal-Martians and the cow manure, to poking the Pillsbury Dough Boy, this book is filled with laughs. Things did not work out the way the Breedens dreamed, but they are dreamers and planners. We should all be a little more like them.