By, Bill Bryson
(C) 1989/2001 Harper / Perennial
Travel writing has always been an interest of mine, and also anything to do with through hiking / long journeys. Recently I saw the “Walk in the Woods” movie which was based off of Bill Bryson’s book about the Appalachian Trail. To be honest, I wasn’t a huge fan of the move it’s self, but it did make me intrigued enough for me to want to read some of Bill Bryson’s work. Because I of the freshness of the movie, I didn’t want to start with his book on the Appalachian Trail. While browsing through HPB’s travelogue section I managed to find this book, “The Lost Continent: Travels in Small Town America.” For those who know me, I’m also fond of small towns.
I picked this book up excitedly, and immediately fell in love with Bill Bryson’s writing. This book basically chronicles his journey to re-visit the seemingly endless road-trips that his father had taken the family on in his youth. He starts in his hometown of Des Moines IA, and travels through 38 states – mostly in middle America, the south and New England. I did enjoy his family stories of his youth and previous visits to various places. I could really relate to his getting lost all of the time – though following seemingly simple road signs. I also enjoyed his wit, though it did sometimes trend toward cynical. The only thing I didn’t enjoy quite as much (that kept it from going to 5 stars) was that there was a lot of repetition regarding bad hotel rooms located in strip mall style areas. My thought was, if you don’t like them – stay somewhere else. Nearly every town he came to, the hotel was bad (road side motel), the food was bad (truck stop style dining) and it was in a terrible strip mall style place.
Over all I really enjoyed the read, and do look forward to reading more of his in the future