Travels with Charley: In Search of America by John Steinbeck

Travels with CharleyIn 1960, the author John Steinbeck drove across the United States in a camper truck called Rocinante (after Don Quixote’s horse). Accompanied only by a 10-year-old French poodle named Charley, Steinbeck travels from Long Island north to Maine and across the upper Midwest to Seattle, down to his native Salinas Valley in California, across to Texas, and through the South. Steinbeck’s travelogue chronicles an America losing its regional distinctiveness in favor of putting “cleanliness first at the expense of taste.” He deftly explores issues of racism, rural-urban migration, and poverty throughout this journey.

In his introduction to the 50th anniversary edition, Jay Parini writes “it would be a mistake to take this travelogue too literally, as Steinbeck was at heart a novelist, and he added countless touches – changing the sequence of events, elaborating on scenes, inventing dialogue – that one associates more with fiction than nonfiction.” Regardless of its authenticity, Travels with Charley is an excellent example of Steinbeck’s excellent dialogue and warm prose. A perfect companion for a summer road trip!

Availability:  USMAI and SMCM Library
Review Submitted by: Kaitlyn Grigsby
Rating: Highly Recommended

Submit your review or comments here.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s