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Two roads diverged in a yellow wood . . .

There you are, trudging down one path in life, content as a clam, and then, bam, you see another future. It might be a hut on Bora Bora, it might be a devotion to selfless service, it might be traveling arm-in-arm with someone so free of inhibition and decorum that the thought of it steals your breath.

But you had plans, your life had shape. Ahead of you was money and status, the house, the club, respect. Before you was the whole American Dream, which is nothing to sneeze at, trust me. And yet, isn't America also the land of reinvention?

Oliver Cross was 22 with a career in corporate law and all its marvelous bounty ahead of him when, during a famous night thick with politics, and raw violence, he saw within the swirling light of bonfire and cop car a different path. It would be hard, uncertain, a desperate grab for meaning and transcendence in a country tearing itself apart. Did he take the detour? Does it matter? For him, just the sight of it changed everything.

Now, fifty years later, it is time to deal with the wreckage.

Oliver is fresh out of prison, his wife is dead, his son hates him, his neighbors fear him, his hair is gone, and his granddaughter is missing. His life is nothing but an endless sea of regret. And did I mention the hair thing?

Truth is, all he wants to do is die. But instead of giving the bastards the satisfaction of his suicide, he busts parole and races across the country after his missing granddaughter. He's hoping to find her before it all goes to hell, but what he really finds, along with the requisite violence and a stray mutt, is his past. Was the decision he made all those years ago the right one? Was the payoff rich enough? Were the costs too high?

Oliver is doing what we all do as we near the end, squatting in the flow of his history and panning for something that is shiny enough he can pretend it's gold. Doesn't that sound like fun? Sure it does.

So stick out your thumb and hitch a ride with Oliver Cross on Freedom Road, where the only thing tastier than the regrets are the hot dogs. And the only rule is no ketchup allowed.

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