John Steinbeck was feeling out of touch with America so decided to go on a road trip, just him and his dog Charley, to try and get a feel for the pulse of his country. His preparations are extensive and we get a good look at them before he sets off. We hear a lot about the start of his trip as he heads north to Maine from NY so he can travel the entire length of the country but once he starts west, we skip over large swaths of time. He admits that the story is more of a feeling of the adventure he went on than completely factual (he is a fiction writer after all) but it still has a ring of truth to it.
I'm generally a fan of Steinbeck but man, this was a hard one to get into. It traveled around the country without really going anywhere. He spent the majority of the book lamenting the lack of personality in the places he went. There were a few neat interactions with people but it was like sitting around the dinner table chatting with my dad for a few hours. A lot of meandering, a few interesting anecdotes, but mostly no point to the whole thing.
Page count: 290p/27,396p ytd/242,312p lifetime