2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Travel for the author, travail for the reader,
This review is from: Divine Magnetic Lands: A Journey in America (Paperback)
Since I knew I'd be back on the road again through small-town USA this spring, I bought this book and William Least Heat-Moon's 'Roads to Quoz'. The mistake was to read Heat-Moon first. O'Grady's work has neither the eloquence nor the consequence of Heat-Moon, so reading this book afterwards quickly became anticlimactic. Another reviewer has already pinched the "Are we there yet?" tag: that's exactly how I felt after the first 150 pages or so. One needs only to compare the handling of the authors' friends and families to see the gulf between these two books: O'Grady has no soft pedal, and when the style moves into hectoring gear, any message beyond the topographical is diminished, and the going gets tough for the reader.
Make no mistake, there is good and valuable content in 'Divine Magnetic Lands', and I am glad to have read it: after all, I have read much worse on the subject in the past. Had there been no immediate comparison available, an extra star might have squeezed onto the tally. But there was, so it didn't.
I'll be packing 'Blue Highways' for the flight next week: it's a few years since I last read it.