I’ve only ever made one cross-country road trip, from Washington, D.C. to Washington State. I got to see the country and catch up with friends and family scattered across four time zones. More importantly, I added the Corn Palace to the list of wacky tourist attractions I’ve visited.
Alas, my car and I aren’t going anywhere for awhile. But if you’re like me, a road trip enthusiast stuck in an armchair, you may enjoy these books:
An Abundance of Katherines by John Green
Child prodigy Colin graduates from high school and gets dumped for the 19th time by a girl named Katherine. His best friend proposes a pick-me up road trip, and Colin uses this as a chance to develop a mathematical model of relationships. They end up in Gutshot, Tennessee, where they get a summer job recording oral histories with a local girl named Lindsey. This witty YA romp may or may not make you yearn to be a teen again.
The Flying Troutmans by Miriam Toews
Recently dumped 28-year-old Hattie returns to Canada from France to take care of her niece and nephew. Her sister, Min, has entered the psych ward and Logan and Thebes need Hattie’s help. The three soon set off on a road trip to the United States in search of the kids’ long-lost father. If you liked the movie Little Miss Sunshine you’ll love The Flying Troutmans.
Breathing Lessons by Anne Tyler
An average middle-aged, middle-class couple drives to Pennsylvania for a funeral and make a few side trips, some planned, some accidental. The trip gives Maggie and Ira the opportunity to reflect on their long mismatched marriage. If you haven’t read anything by Anne Tyler, this Pulitzer Prize winning novel is a good place to start.
The Leisure Seeker by Michael Zadoorian
An elderly Detroit couple set out on one last journey in their R.V., much to the chagrin of their adult children and doctors. (She’s terminally ill, and he has Alzheimer’s.) Destination: Disneyland. It’s a sad, funny, sweet, romantic, and poignant meditation on end-of-life decisions.
Enjoy the ride!