Charley is John Steinbeck’s poodle. This book is about his road trip across America.
It became one of my favorites by page nine. Even if you have no interest in seeing America in the 1960’s you should still read this book. Just the clever wit and gentle prose alone makes it a welcomed journey.Near the end of this book you will share his experience of the matriculation of two African-American children to an all-white school in New Orleans in 1960. He refers to an event he wishes to see; ‘the cheerleaders’. The event is horrific, and, as it was before my time, I had trouble understanding it (I do not remember being taught about this in school when I was little). When I did understand what he was seeing I felt a myriad of unpleasant emotions surging forth. I have not experienced this type of hatred and I never want to. It affected him and changed the tone of his trip, reading this for myself, if you can call a ‘read’ a journey and I think you can, it changed the experience for me too.
In the end he sums up his beginning quite nicely. I paraphrase: The journey affects you; you have no effect on the journey.
This book is a ‘must read’ for us all.