Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Queen of the Road by Doreen Orion

(Shameless plug: Don't forget to enter our first-ever (but not last!) book giveaway by this Sunday, September 7!)

I picked up Queen of the Road at the same time as Wife in the North. Both were memoirs about women relocating in a dramatic way to accommodate their husbands' dreams, both grew from blogs (though I didn't know it when I ordered them), and both were LibraryThing Early Reviewer selections in the same month. The reading experiences could not have been more different. I won't go on and on about my disappointment that Wife in the North simply reprinted blog entries, as I've already written that review, but I will say that Queen of the Road was a blast. Refreshingly written in normal-book format, with chapters, and character development, and unity of purpose (not to mention hilarious, delectable martini recipes preceding each chapter), Queen of the Road chronicles the year Doreen spent with her husband in a converted bus (don't feel too sorry for her--it's a luxury home on wheels), seeing America and learning what's really important in life. At the very beginning, when Doreen announces she's a proud Long Island Princess with 200 shoes, I was bummed because I never understand women with that many shoes, and I'm not so much into fashion. Fortunately, Doreen proves to be much different from the shallow, materialistic woman I had expected. The best part of the book is watching her grow as a person (from a semi-hermit who works from home and spends as much time in pajamas as possible to a true Queen of the Road), closely followed by learning about different places in America along with her.

If you had asked me before I read this book, "Hey, would you ever spend a year in a converted bus?" I would have laughed and laughed, but Doreen's journey actually seems...fun. And liberating, eye-opening, and life-changing. Doreen is funny and instead of whining constantly about "the bus thing" her husband is so keen on, she embraces the experience. Her marriage with Tim is really inspiring, and "the bus thing" manages to bring them even closer together. There were a few points of self-reflection when I uncharitably thought she devolved into trite platitudes, but you know what? Reminders that "things" are not as important as people, or that people can change and grow, or that venturing out of your comfort zone can open your eyes--these are not unique, but that's because they are a part of the human experience, and the way Doreen finds her way (and herself) is refreshing. This book is highly readable, fun, and inspirational.


Tracie.Lesser said...

Greetings from Celestial Seasonings! "Queen of the Road" was featured as an Adventure at Every Turn online book club selection. Our club, located at www.CelestialSeasoningsBookClub.com, features a new book every other month and provides creative tips for your book club gatherings. You’ll find themed tea selections, delicious recipes, festive decorating ideas, thought-provoking discussion topics and engaging activities inspired by the book - and it’s all free! You can also get free shipping from Random House on featured selections.

Additionally, we just posted an exclusive webcast with Doreen Orion that you may be interested in. We hope you'll check it out.

sassydoesit said...

This does sound interesting - I've added this to the ol' Amazon Wish List, from which I pluck every other month or so when I come up with a must-have and need another straw on the back to hit the $25 mark for free shipping.

Perhaps TMI there, but I was on a roll.

Interesting post by the Celestial Seasonings contingent...I like Celestial Seasonings, but I'm surprised they have an online book club. Although I suppose it's good marketing, you know - book clubs and tea kind of get thrown together as ladies' things (at least in this country), so might as well link them...boost sales with themed tea selections for book clubs (which chicks dig, apparently). Hmmmm.

allisonmariecat said...

My book club tends to go more the "wine" direction than the "tea" direction, but maybe we're rebels that way :)

That $25 for free shipping thing KILLS me. Add that to their 4-for-3 books and you can see why the piles of books are threatening to overtake the house...

Anna said...

I've heard great things about this book. I can't wait to read it.

--Diary of an Eccentric