THE DISTANCE BETWEEN is a great book to give a teen or young adult in trouble. Timothy J. Hillegonds pulls no punches in detailing his years of addition, loneliness, and loss in this powerful book.
The author blames much of this on the father who left him as a child, and with whom he never connected. And despite many people who love him over the years – mother, step father, friends, girlfriends – he over and over makes the wrong choice. One dead end begets another, one fit of anger leads to a more rage, till the endless supply of booze and drugs consume him.
Some of that rage is tamed by regular jobs at Denny’s and the like. But he never shakes the sorrow of life passing him by, even as he steps off the train of emotional progress again and again and again. Only fatherhood – another accident – tames him slightly. And only the court system finally changes his way. No doubt THE DISTANCE BETWEEN was therapeutic to write. It is a tough read.
I was hoping for more explanation of the change which brought the author to a sober, married, healthy life now. I would love to know more about his mother’s boundless love, or the siblings no doubt caught in the detritus of his life off the rails. Perhaps that will be in the next book.
Timothy J. Hillegond’s work has appeared in the Chicago Tribune, Salon.com, The Daily Beast, The Los Angeles Review of Books, The Rumpus, Assay, Fourth Genre: Explorations in Nonfiction, River Teeth, Baltimore Review, Brevity, Hippocampus Magazine, The Fourth River, Midway Journal, RHINO, Bluestem Magazine, r.k.v.r.y. quarterly, and others.
In 2019, Tim was named by the Guild Literary Complex as one of their thirty "Writers to Watch." He earned a Master of Arts in Writing and Publishing (MAWP) from DePaul University in Chicago