Monday, July 21, 2008

Queen of the Road- Doreen Orion

Subtitled:
The True Tale of 47 States, 22,000 Miles, 200 Shoes, 2 Cats, 1 Poodle, a Husband and a Bus with a Will of It's Own.

Okay, how could you not want to pick up this new title from Broadway Books ??? The cover and subtitle grabbed me, but I was captivated in the first 10 pages of this travel memoir from Doreen Orion.

Both Orion and her husband Tim Justice are practicing psychiatrists. Tim is still seeing patients in an office setting while Doreen consults from home for insurance companies etc. Tim is a busy guy, always with a project on the go. He enjoys the outdoors as well. On the other hand, Doreen is more than happy to stay in her pajamas, work from home, watch television and never leave the house. Her record is 118 hours in without stepping a foot outside. Two seemingly polar opposites.

Without quite knowing how it happened, Doreen agrees to Tim's dream - to travel across America in a bus for a year. That's right - a bus. But what a bus it is! (Take note that their bus ends up being the September centerfold for Bus Conversions magazine.)

Orion is an extremely funny woman. I was laughing out loud right from the beginning and wondered if she could keep it up throughout the book.....she did.

After an initial 3 week test run, they set out. Not everything goes quite to plan - the bus has some issues and so does Doreen - she's terrified of the bus.

With a fantastic sense of humour, Orion describes the trip, her relationship with Tim, the people they meet and the situations they find themselves in.

Just a few weeks into the trip they notice a shift in their outlooks and attitudes.

"Getting to the top of the bell tower reaffirmed for me that Tim and I were making new choices about how to live our lives and whether it was finding time for that climb or putting our careers on hold, we were doing things differently that we had in the past, giving us hope that the lessons learned on the road about what was truly valuable might just stick".

And this is really the essence of the book. How do you want to live your life and what is really important? As we follow Tim and Doreen's travels, you start to look at your own life and wonder what you could do a little bit differently.

It's also a love story. They are together 24/7 for a year. Although they already have a good marriage, they rediscover each other on the road.

Fascinating as well is the ongoing travelogue. The places they visit are detailed, and an appendix gives web addresses for many of the places.

I love a good travel memoir and this was one of the best I've read. This would be a great selection for a book club. There is a thoughtful list of discussion questions to get you started at the end. ( Oh - and a cocktail recipe at the beginning of every chapter!) As well, Orion will attend your book group - either in person or by speakerphone.

The idea of a boat trip was bandied about at the end of the book. Sounds like a great idea Doreen and Tim - can't wait to hear what adventure you embark on next! You can always follow along at Doreen's blog.

1 comment:

Myckyee said...

Hi - I like your reviews and your blog is great. I need to do some work on mine! I noticed we both got the same book from minibookexpo (Recipes of a Dumb Housewife). I will look forward to reading your review of that one.

Donna