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Independence Day: A Broken Heart's Voyage Around the USA Paperback – 6 Jul 2000
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Jim Keeble is a Brit with his heart in North America. At least, he was, until his Italian-Canadian fiancée Angie-"beautiful, funny, caring, bubbly, outgoing, vivacious Angie"--decided to chuck him. In, of all places, the world's number one honeymoon destination, Niagara Falls. Given the circumstances, surrounded as he was by thousands of euphoric newly-weds humping away in motel-rooms expressly designed for the pleasures of nuptial love, Jim Keeble did the only right and honourable thing: he ran away.
This, then, is an account of Keeble's ensuing emotional Odyssey, his epic schlep around the highways and byways of America, from the frigid Minnesotan heartlands to the frazzled Mexican borderlands to the fantastical Las Vegas NeverNeverlands, in search of serenity, dignity, tranquillity, and a possible bunk-up. It's a quixotic, rambling, dishevelled, mostly endearing tale, at once a light-heartedly laddish travel diary and also a heartfelt, funny-sad, very contemporary male confessional.
Of course, Keeble doesn't get the girl. Any girl. Though he tries the crab-fed Cornishwomen of Carolina and the long legged Croatian horsewomen of Virginia, though he tries "Yummy Mummies" in Brooklyn and silicon-breasted sophomores doing Spring Break in Daytona Beach, he gets totally nowhere, fast. But what he does get is a lot of first-rate material for this rather likeable, rather readable travelogue. Only question: whatever happened to Angie? She sounded wicked. --Sean Thomas
Imagine you've just been dumped. Not just dumped but pushed out of Concorde at 60,000 feet with a grand piano tied to your testicles. You've asked the woman of your dreams to marry you after a seven-year passionate, transatlantic relationship and she's said "No". What? "No. I never want to see you again". Following his true love's rejection by the frozen waters of Niagara Falls, the honeymoon capital of the world, Jim Keeble follows his self-esteem south to America, the Land of the Free. From the fast flash of Las Vegas to the wolf-woods of Minnesota, he attempts to get his life back together on the road. From Aki, a Vegas showgirl for the 21st century, and the lap dancers of Glitter Gulch, to the Los Angeles surfers and starlets, from the attendees of the "Washington Post Personals Singles Party" to the crab-catchers' daughters of Virginia, "Independence Day" is a quest to find a girl that looks like Sunday but treats you like Saturday night.See all Product description
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Independence Day flouts this convention, and, what is more, the book is a success. We learn of the author's break-up with his girlfriend, Angie, and his solace-seeking journey around the USA turns on his fragility and lovesickness. This is an unorthodox work of travel literature which works because, though it is heart-rending, it stops short of being mawkish, and many readers can no doubt identify with the stimulus and distractions which new surroundings can offer when one is fleeing sadness. Travel often mollifies heartache. Independence Day is not short on humour either, and its use is the key device which saves the book from undue sentimentality. One of the back-cover reviews makes a hackneyed comparison between Keeble and Bill Bryson, but the observation is tenable.
Jim Keeble paints an engaging picture of his American ports of call too, and, all in all, has come up with a travel literature book which breaks the mould. He is to be commended for having the courage to lay his feelings on the line (still an un-bloke-like thing to do in British culture) and for placing these at the heart of his travel writing.
Jim, I have to say that I really enjoyed this book. Answer me this, though. Did you really only get to first base with the ex-cheerleader?
Jim, I hope you're over her.
'Independance Day' is one of my favourite books full stop...
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