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Lonely Planet : Drive Thru America Paperback – 1 Mar 1998
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Lonely Planet, the intrepid traveler's bible...' --Los Angeles Times, April 2005
From New York to San Francisco, Sean Condon investigates the legendary people, places and TV programmes that sustained him through his difficult pre-pubescent years, providing a shrewd and funny take on life in the United States.
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"We concluded our hysteric night in historic Tupelo by watching some porno movies ... and discussed what it'd be like licking other people for a living." ‒ from DRIVE THRU AMERICA
"We briefly discussed the idea of crossing the border into Mexico. But why should we? We haven't done anything wrong." ‒ from DRIVE THRU AMERICA, in Galveston
"Here in cute little Carmel-by-the-Sea they've banned obscene eyesores like streetlights and street signs ... Even indoors in Carmel-by-the-Sea they reject anything stronger than gaslight. They must be afraid of being spotted from the air and bombed or something. Still, it's quaint as hell, it really is." ‒ from DRIVE THRU AMERICA
"... although it's a real nice place to visit, I wouldn't want to live in (Los Angeles). Unless I had a cool job in TV or the movies." ‒ from DRIVE THRU AMERICA
Back in '97, the 31-year old Aussie Sean Condon did a 2-month driving tour through the Eastern, Southern, Southwestern, and Western United States with his pal Dave and then wrote DRIVE THRU AMERICA to tell us all about it.
In the tradition of Alexis de Tocqueville, it's enlightening for an American to read what a foreign traveler has to say about the United States. Unfortunately, Sean is no Alex (Democracy in America). Rather, his observations rarely rise above the superficial and his style becomes annoying when he embellishes the narrative with fantasy happenings in an effort to be clever and/or cute. As a travel writer, he's not even a Bill Bryson or a Joe Bennett. That said, however, his effort perhaps promises the same terrible fascination as watching someone OD on moon pies and sickly-sweet, cherry-flavored soda before throwing up.
Condon's most favorable opinion seems to be of California; he actually expresses a desire to live there. (I've been doing that ‒ living there ‒ for most of my sixty-five years and, trust me, it's not what it used to be ‒ even back in `97). And Sean does record one verbal exchange he had ‒ real or imagined, it's hard to tell ‒ in a Los Angeles bar and worth noting:
"I asked one extraordinarily tall and beautiful woman about the drug she was on.
'It's called Fame,' she said with a notorious smile.
'What happens?' I asked.
'You get a sudden rush of delusional grandeur. The world is yours.'
'Cool. How long does it last?'
'Fifteen minutes,' she replied. 'Gotta go ‒ I'm peaking.'"
I must admit, it started off slowly but soon I couldn't put the book down!
Very well written in short, easy to read sections, so you don't have to wait until the end of the chapter or page to put the book down. If you want, you can pick it up, read 2 or 3 small sections and then put it back down again.
Severe lack of drinking or womanising throughout the book, though i'm sure there will be a reason for tht haha.
A good buy (even if there are a few exagerations...) and a good insight into America and it's people.
Well done Mr Condon!
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