- Format: Kindle Edition
- File Size: 599 KB
- Print Length: 265 pages
- Publisher: Personal Care Publishing; 1 edition (22 Mar. 2013)
- Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
- Language: English
- ASIN: B00BZLFUS0
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #2,080,613 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
Enter your mobile number below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
Getting the download link through email is temporarily not available. Please check back later.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
7 Trips for the Price of One Kindle Edition
Enjoy unlimited access to over 1 million titles and thousands of audiobooks on any device for £7.99 a month, including this one. Learn more
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
They travel from their home in rural Maryland to Kentucky and on to Nashville. All are demon country music fans and there are sightings and encounters and talk about music stars that I've never heard of, but which will probably be familiar to other readers. Little Jimmy Dickens tries to sneak a smoke in the lobby of the Country Music Hall of Fame and gets kicked out. Smoking really DOES stunt your growth.
Then it's on to Hot Springs, through Texas, the Grand Canyon and the Pacific Ocean. They return via Las Vegas (for the Country Music Awards) and Colorado and Wyoming, hitting most of the national parks. In the Midwest, they stay with relatives and visit Chicago. After a whirlwind visit to New York City and a peek at the Atlantic, they are back home in Maryland. The Dad narrates the book and all four kids give their views of different attractions and experiences. They are intelligent, lively, articulate people and if that's all there was to the book it would still be an enjoyable read.
It's much more than a light travelogue. The author was the child of a mentally ill mother and an absent father. He and his brothers spent most of their childhoods in foster homes in New Jersey. At eighteen, ejected from the foster care system and with no family, he joined a religious cult which gave him a sense of belonging. After many years, he broke from the group, went to college, married, fathered four children, and became a successful self-employed family man. He sounds like a success story (and is) but the scars are there and he's honest about them. Even if he weren't, a perceptive reader would pick up on it.
His wife is a shadowy figure. She's from a loving, religious family and grew up in the Chicago area and went to college in Colorado. She never contributes to the narrative, but surveys people they meet, asking each one the question "Who's the most loving person you know?" Predictably, the answers are all over the board. The children are home-schooled, although they belong to a 4-H chapter and to a home-schooling "umbrella" group that provides variation and experiences outside the home. They seem bright, thoughtful, and naive.
This book is fascinating and compelling because so much is hinted at, but never fully explained. The author calls himself an "alleged heretic" and says that his wife was excommunicated from a religious group because of her association with him, but never says what group it was. Some of the people they visit are Mennonites, but some of her Midwest relatives clearly AREN'T Mennonite. They visit the Focus on the Family headquarters and he mentions what an influence that group has been on his family. However, they attend church services only once during their trip and one daughter writes poignantly of how much she loves going to church and how infrequently she is able to do so.
He seems obsessed with insuring that his children bond and develop close, life-long ties, understandable since he has no contact with his brothers or any family members. He finds the world evil and mentions that his children have become frightened of the "outside" world and that his wife is troubled by that. He mentions stresses in his marriage and the toll that marital fighting takes on the children, but never explains the problems between him and his wife (which he hints are serious.) His childhood provided no experience in how a "normal" family (if here is such a thing) works. Perhaps he believes (consciously or unconsciously) that his wife and children have it so much better than he had it that they should be endlessly, mindlessly happy at all times. Perhaps, like all parents, he wants to give his children what he didn't have when he was growing up and shield them from unhappiness and bad decisions. Like all parents, he'll have to accept that NO child thinks his life is perfect and that each child must eventually follow his own path.
I never figured out the title. It reminds me of the old joke "Two can live as cheaply as one if one of them doesn't eat." Since there are only six people in the family, he seems to be counting himself twice, which is strange. But he IS strange or odd or quirky. He writes well and he's an interesting man with an interesting past and present. I hope he keeps writing. I would like to know more about his family and how things work out for them.
I would buy a sequel in a heartbeat.