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18 in America: A Young Golfer's Epic Journey to Find the Essence of the Game Paperback – 22 Apr 2014

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Product details

  • Paperback: 258 pages
  • Publisher: Scribner Book Company; Reprint edition (22 April 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1451693648
  • ISBN-13: 978-1451693645
  • Product Dimensions: 14 x 1.8 x 21.3 cm
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,426,100 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Shortly before his freshman year of college was set to begin, seventeen-year-old Dylan Dethier--hungry for an adventure beyond his small town--deferred his admission and, "like Jack Kerouac and Ken Kesey before him, packed his used car and meager lif

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 74 reviews
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
A tremendous book- and definitely not just for golfers. 4 Jun. 2013
By Keith Kantack - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I picked up this book expecting a pleasant account of a young dude's road trip, with some funny encounters, an obstacle here and there, and great golf stories. I got all those, but 18 In America delivered so much more. Far from a "what-I-did-last-summer" rehash, the book comes through with vivid characters and captivating anecdotes. It is at once a page-turner and a high-quality piece of writing. Dethier lays down the ink with a consistent and confident voice that eludes most first-time authors and hits us with original observations on golf, growing up, and Americans. It's like Travels with Charley written by a young Bill Bryson. These stories are uniquely funny and entertaining, but also brutally honest and deeply personal. The openness sucks you in from the start and the wit, originality, and excellent prose keeps you there. Before you know it, Dylan is wrapping up a legendary road trip and leaving you wanting more. Impressive from start to finish, I highly recommend 18 in America.
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
Book Review: 18 in America by Dylan Dethier 11 Jun. 2013
By SportsChump - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition
Before I proceed with my review of Dylan Dethier's 18 in America, let me first say that two things will piss you off about this book.

First of all, Dethier is a better golfer than you or me. Second of all, he is a better writer than you or me. Considering I partake in both of these activities on a regular basis, please allow me take a quick breath before moving forward.

Okay, I feel better now.

Dylan Dethier, the book's teenage author (and no, the book was not co-written), started taking his golf game seriously once "a twenty-one-year-old named Eldrick Woods was fist-pumping his way around Augusta National. All of a sudden, golf looked as if it might be sort of cool."

What followed, 18 in America, is Dylan's story. Leave it to a kid named Dylan to write something poetic.
Before you mistake him for your spoiled, run-of-the-mill, country club brat, you should know he's far from it.

"I deflected everything I hated about the game onto the rich kids I would run into at tournaments. I hated the way they wore their thick white sunglasses when it wasn't sunny and the way they matched their turquoise hats to their turquoise pants. I hated the way they talked about the putting greens in their backyards but still managed to suck at putting. I hated the way they talked about golf courses they had been to and where they fathers were members."

And so, on a whim, Dethier decided to discover golf in America. Right after high school and right before college, Dethier embarked upon a project you will be better off for reading, regardless of whether you're a golf fan or not. After digesting 18 in America, you might just become one. Dylan's journey encompasses one school year, at least one round of golf in the lower forty-eight states, just him, his beat-up Subaru, $5,000 in cash and a roll of duct tape his father had given him in case of emergency.

18 in America is a heartfelt, introspective, coming-of-age story, Jack Kerouac meets Jack Nicklaus. From New York to Pennsylvania, on to Ohio and Michigan, up through the Dakotas and onward, with every stop, 18 leaves you wondering what Dylan will discover next, not only about golf and our beloved country, but about himself.

As you thumb through the pages of 18, and you'll do so relatively quickly as it's a difficult book to put down, you'll find yourself wanting to be Dylan the way you would the protagonist of your favorite movie, minus the oyster cracker and peanut butter diet, the infrequency with which he did his laundry and the evenings his Subaru slumber was rudely interrupted by police officers, park rangers or truck stop vagrants trying to break in through his passenger door window.

"Golf gave me a sense of purpose. I relished that time of day when I would get into my car and type "golf course" into my GPS and drive to the nearest one that showed up. I had been seeing, over and over, how golf can step in when the rest of life comes up short - how the game has a way of filling in the divots in people's lives."

In his cross-country quest, he encountered plenty of lonely times but also an oddball cast of characters like the three straight nights he spent playing blackjack with a truck driver in Cabazon which almost cost him his entire savings, the shifty Vegas Johnny who tried to hustle him on the course or the motivational scooter salesman who insisted on giving him a nickel tour of the Lone Star State.

As his trip progressed, Dethier's story started picking up nationwide recognition. He snuck into a hotel one morning to illegally partake in their continental breakfast, a habit he picked up early in the trip to save money, to discover his story had made the USA Today. With his growing popularity, ritzier golf courses began welcoming his arrival which is how he ended up teeing off at courses like Pebble Creek, Sawgrass and Merion, the home of this year's US Open. There are several other pleasant surprises he encounters along the way but I'd hate to spoil the fun as this is a book that you really should read.

One thing stood out most about 18 in America. As a burgeoning golfer who tries not to obsess about score, you'll notice Dethier rarely reports his. In the first two hundred pages, he mentioned score only twice. Here's why.

"By the time I'd hit Missouri, I'd decided that keeping score was the best - but also the worst - thing about golf. The way we try to reduce the success of a four-hour athletic endeavor shared by friends down to miniature pencil numbers squeezed onto a four-by-six inch piece of paper is absurd. We ruin lots of beautiful experiences by quantifying them. Golf courses, though, aren't made to be painted by number. They're made of opportunity and failure and creativity, because in reality, the golf course - not the scorecard - is the canvas."
I told you he was a better writer than you or me.

What Dethier ultimately discovered was how following his dream affected those he ran into along the way. Reading about his trip might affect you in the same way. 18 in America is about taking chances. It will make you toss your clubs in the trunk and schedule a tee time. It might even make you drive a little farther to your next round just to see what life holds in store.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Heartfelt, exceptionally well-written, and at times laugh-out-loud funny 27 May 2013
By Ian - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book is one of the best I've read in several years. Dylan Dethier weaves a storyline that gives the reader a chance to experience his trip around the country playing golf for themselves. You needn't be a golfer to enjoy it, though. It's the kind of book that will satisfy anyone, and allow them to see this amazing journey through the author's eyes. Dethier writes with the clarity, intuition, and wisdom of someone twice his age, and his ability to see and convey the irony in any situation is truly unparalleled...and his wry humor is hilarious and well-placed.

Eighteen in America is an absolute must-read for teens experiencing their own comings-of-age, too.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Wow, just try to put this down! 6 Jun. 2013
By Nancy Nylen - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
For anyone who has ever been 18 or ever taken a road trip or played golf or known anyone who plays golf, or been a parent, 18 in America is truly a gift. Dylan somehow takes the reader along on his journey, making us ache for his lonliness and fear for his encounters one minute - and envy his freedom to wake up to incredible landscapes and experience the kindness of people from all walks of life the next. Dylan has an uncanny way of describing the people he meets and weaving their stories into the story of his journey. His love of the game is contagious, and his hopefulness and encouragement for each of us to follow our dreams keeps us turning the pages.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Great read even for a non-golfer 6 Jun. 2013
By Will - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition
I can't say enough about this book. It wasn't the golf that hooked me - I haven't swung a club in ten years and was never really into the sport. Instead, it was the story of a young man hitting the road, experiencing the thrill and abject loneliness that accompany the total freedom of solo travel. It was the stories of small towns, of Dylan's internal struggle with how to feel about the extreme wealth that is rarely far removed from his sport.

I'd highly recommend 18 in America to anyone embarking on a journey and to any young person who's trying to figure out what comes next and what to make of this country of ours.
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