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.
by Doreen Orion
published by Broadway Books, 2008