And Now For Something Completely Different

I confess…sometimes I take my reading a bit too seriously. I have this feeling that everything I read must be edifying or enlightening or educational or inspirational.  But every so often a book finds its way to the top of my stack that’s really none of those things.

It’s simply entertaining.

And with a subtitle like this – The True Tale of 47 States, 22,000 Miles, 200 Shoes, 2 Cats, 1 Poodle, a Husband, and a Bus with a Will of Its Own – you can probably tell into which category Queen of the Road falls.

Doreen Orion, a self proclaimed Princess, Couch Potato, and shoe fanatic (as well as being a triple board certified psychiatrist) succumbs to the pressure from her husband Tim, and agrees to join him on his dream escapade – a year touring the country in a converted bus. From page one, the reader is hanging on for dear life as this hapless couple start careening around the United States, from Florida to Alaska, New York to Nevada, and everywhere in between.  Along the way they encounter various and sundry bus disasters (fire and flood), meet characters of every ilk (armed robbers and Indian chiefs), spend some time in a nudist RV colony, renew their marriage vows courtesy of an Elvis impersonator in Las Vegas, and (not surprisingly) discover new things about themselves and what’s really important in their lives.

Turns out owning 200 pairs of shoes isn’t all that great after all.

Living on our bus allowed me to see how few things I really needed and, ultimately, what I actually valued.  I truly hadn’t appreciated how important my belongings had become until I shed most of them and put the rest at risk – on the bus.  And risk turned out to be exactly what I needed.  While going with the crowd feels safer, it’s much more rewarding to take to the open road on your own, to determine your own course and have your own experiences.

Hmm, perhaps Queen of the Road  was more enlightening and edifying than I first thought.

It was definitely entertaining, for Orion’s writing style is breezy, sardonic, and fast paced.  And her story is not only about travel and challenge, but about love, for along the way she and her husband Tim come to an even greater appreciation of each other’s strengths. 

It’s a feel good story through and through – and the fact that each chapter includes the recipe for a “custom blend” martini (The Phobic Friar-1 part Frangelico, 1 part raspberry liqueur, 2/3 part Baileys; Hold martini shaker firmly with both hands; tremble violently; pour down throat) makes it feel even better!

So if you’re in the mood for a rollicking road trip, you won’t go wrong hopping on this bus. You’ll end the read ride with a big smile on your face.

Queen of the Road

by Doreen Orion

published by Broadway Books, 2008

272 pages

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17 thoughts on “And Now For Something Completely Different

  1. This sounds like a lot of fun, Becca! I’ve never read much travel literature but recently I did enjoy very much Michele Murano’s essays on living in Spain, Grammar Lessons. I don’t like to think what a whole new genre will do to my groaning book shelves…..!

  2. I’ve never really understood this shoe fetish thing. I hate buying shoes because it’s so hard to find anything nice that fits me. But then I guess some people would find my book fetish hard to take as well!

  3. This sounds just perfect for the beach or any hot summer night when you’d rather laugh than think. I might have to try that Phobic Friar along with it!

  4. This sounds like another good one, Becca. Summer is my “lighter” time to read. Mysteries, “fun books,” biographies of folks who aren’t so “deep” as the rest of them! This sounds like it mixes up the fun with more than a little thought!

  5. I’m very similar to you in this regard. I’m always pulling those weighty (intellectually, educationally) off the shelves instead of things that look fluffier on the surface. This week I finished Drunk, Divorced, and Covered in Cat Hair, by Laurie Perry. It was one of those situations wherein I was convinced that I was dealing with fluff, but by the end it was really quite energizing and enlightening. Perfect for my situation, too, as I’ve just left the long-time boyfriend and moved cross country. Whew!

    I will definitely give Queen of the Road a go. It sounds like just the type of book I need right now.

  6. “edifying or enlightening or educational or inspirational” and then there is the poor cousin, entertaining…

    Shoot! My life is serious enough – please give me fluff. Give me Janet Evanovich and a belly laugh, give me Robert Crais and I can’t turn the light off at midnight, give me Peter May so I can live dangerously in Mexico, 1450, – just take me away!!!!!!!

    HURRAH FOR FLUFF!! Okay, I have come out of the closet. I am not an intellectual, and now everyone knows it. I am just….fluffy!

    This book sounds like a lot of fun – thanks for reviewing it, Becca. I am heading to the library this afternoon to look for it. (First I have to finish the new Robert Crais, though. It’s really intense.)

  7. I’ve been hearing a lot about this book, and now I’m really looking forward to reading it…probably in about 6 years when my TBR pile has become more manageable, as if that’s ever going to happen. Thanks for another great one!

  8. I read very little other than fiction, which is a shame. The few times I’ve ventured out of my comfort zone and read something different — a memoir, a travelogue, or some form of creative nonfiction — I’ve usually liked it. This sounds a fun read. Thanks for the review.

  9. Now this one just sounds fun! Traveling around the country in an RV has long been a dream of mine (with gas so expensive though, it’s more like a nightmare now, lol, or at the least, a dream that will most likely never be fulfilled, since those things only get about 8 miles to the gallon. OUCH!). Books are a great way to live vicariously through others, so I just might have to put this on my TBR list. Thanks!

  10. Whenever we come back from our little Michigan homes I wonder why we need so much of the stuff that surrounds us here at home in Virginia.

    Although I’d use an RV instead of a bus, I’d like to travel around like this but my OH is too young, way too young, to retire.

    Think I’ll have to go buy the book.

  11. Pingback: On the bookshelves 3 « Stephanie’s Written Word

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