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Breakfast at the Exit Cafe
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Breakfast at the Exit Cafe

3.51  ·  Rating Details ·  88 Ratings  ·  27 Reviews
Breakfast at the Exit Café begins as a personal story-told in alternating voices by two travellers and writers-of a journey by car from British Columbia around the rim of the United States. It soon becomes a journey of exploration. For Grady, whose forebears were slaves who came to Canada in the 1880s, this is a journey through fear, racism, and violence into his own famil ...more
Mass Market Paperback, 316 pages
Published 2011 by Greystone Books (first published September 3rd 2010)
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(showing 1-30)
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A travel story taken by Canadian husband and wife writers, each with their own running commentary of their travels and experiences where they start in Vancouver BC, head south along the West Coast and then east into mountains, and then the desert and further south into Texas. Trapsing into the South and slowly winding back North to Canada over a two month period with their little Echo. Curiosity is interesting idea dealt with the end of how we differ in the what we (Canadians) deem the meaning ...more
Jun 23, 2011 Sally rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
If you're planning a road trip in the States this is a great read. If you're not planning to go there anytime soon, this is a great substitute for a road trip. All the background info, history, insights and observations without the discomfort. If you're American and voted for George W, this isprobably not for you.
Jan 12, 2013 Joanne rated it really liked it
I liked this informative unusual book. The couple was a bit twee at times with their duck pate' and special red plates, but likable and kind also. My problem was with Merilyn comparing her husband's background to Obama's. No one would look at her husband and think black, and no one would look at Obama and think white.
I learned some things about this country from these thoughtful Canadians.
Karen Snyder
Anybook that mentions One Square Inch of Silence in my opinion has to be a good book!Likewise with thoughts of Rachel Carson, Edward Abbey, the Grand Canyon, The Redwoods...although great travels it does seem like many miles of pavement with a rushed timeline.
Mar 03, 2011 Margaret rated it liked it
I enjoyed this because I generally like travel books. There was a slight hint of the favourite Canadian pastime of anti-Americanism, running through the book but nothing too bad.
Apr 17, 2015 Jackie rated it it was ok
What a strange, strange book. This read to me as "we took a poorly planned road trip, then decided to apply for a grant to write a book about it". They do little worth writing about, miss out on almost everything they hoped to see, and dwell on tiny experiences, magnifying them beyond what they signify. At least 50% of the book is extensive quotations or summaries of observations of the U.S. from better, more perceptive writers. (This was the meat of the book and what made it worth reading - ...more
Feb 11, 2012 Marianna rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Other than a few factual errors for the Texas portion of this book (I can't speak to the validity of the facts for the other regions covered) I found this an entertaining read. I was a little put off by the oversimplification of the treatment of race relations in the south. To read Mr. Grady you would believe that a trip to Selma, Alabama or Jacksonville, Mississippi would have you returning to the 1950's. Certainly racism still exists in this region, but not to the extent implied in this ...more
Kathryne Camp evans
Jun 30, 2016 Kathryne Camp evans rated it did not like it
I quickly grew to dislike these 2 Canadians, who crossed the border with a fat chunk of disdain for America and the people who live here, and proceeded to drive across the country with no plan other than to avoid being with other people at all costs. You know what you find when you go out of your way to avoid large centers of population? You find the rest of the population, who is also trying to avoid people. That portion of the population is often cranky and unfriendly. 75% of this book seems ...more
Apr 13, 2013 Christina rated it really liked it
Shelves: travel
This is an interesting look at America in the early 21st century. The husband and wife Canadian authors leave British Columbia in mid-December 2006 and drive down the west coast, across the American southwest and the south, then up the east coast of America to arrive home in eastern Ontario two months later. They encounter quite a bit of bad weather and (of course) some quirky characters and places. I enjoyed their commentary on the state of America at that particular point in time. As the book ...more
Richard Thompson
Apr 10, 2015 Richard Thompson rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction, best1013
Wayne Grady (a writer whose work I was familiar with) and his wife, Merilyn Simonds (a writer whose work I will make a note to investigate) decide to make a trip in late December of 2006, from Vancouver where Merilyn has been writer-in-residence at UBC, down through the States and back to their home in southeastern Ontario.

Each of the writers (taking turn and turn about along the route) has a unique voice, but both write well and engagingly.

They have chosen to cross the continent across the sout
Oct 15, 2012 Henry rated it really liked it
Unusual in that this on the road book talks in two voices--a married couple of well-known Canadian writers traveling by less-traveled routes from Vancouver down to California and then west till they reach the southeastern coast, then north till they reach Canada.

They talk about how the US differs from Canada, in the attitudes of the people. It is hard not to
empathize with them, when either of them has disparaging things to say about the country, having lived in the US and now in Canada for umpt
Jul 02, 2011 John rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Husband and wife leave Vancouver just before Christmas in a small car and go home to eastern Ontario " the long way", via California and the US. Both are writers. They are empty-nesters too. They take turns narrating their journey. Their affection for each other as a long- married couple shines through in their accounts of the others' sayings and reactions to life and events on the road.

The problem is that they took their notes, got a Canada Council grant and retired to a writers' workshop to w
Sandra Rae
Feb 01, 2015 Sandra Rae rated it liked it
This is an interesting way to write a "road trip" book. The trip through the Southern U.S. with it's historical references and comparisons, along with the double voice, makes an interesting book. I have been to Vicksburg. The rows upon rows of graves had a big impact on me. All those young people who never got to live their lives. They did not go to Memphis, but a trip to the Civil Rights Museum there was the most important stop on a trip through the U.S. in better weather I might add. As a ...more
Feb 02, 2014 Kasadarko rated it liked it
I may not agree with Merilyn’s final perspective on Americans, defining what American curiosity is, but still a fantastic read. Through factoids, observations, cultural and historical lessons we experience their road trip across America. I loved that I could put the book down and Google any of their stays and historical facts, delving deeper than the book’s written word. Perhaps a bit heavy on American stereotypes, but polite and even-toned about it. A delightful read with ample rhetoric on ...more
Kathleen McRae
Aug 22, 2013 Kathleen McRae rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed this book written by Wayne Grady and Merilyn Simonds.wayne and marilyn are a married couple from Canada who travel for two months in the USA. They travel down the pacific coast thru Washington and Oregon crossing the Great Desert to the south and back up thru the Shenandoah valley to return to their home in Ontario.Wayne and Merilyn took turns writing and it was almost seamless.There was a lot of history covered as they traveled and bird watching and today observations of our ...more
Carol Harrison
An interesting journey around the U.S., especially since it is written by 2 Canadians so has that perspective. I also liked the way they divided up their writing--when it was Wayne's turn, the first paragraph started with "W" and when it was Merilyn's, it was an "M". Maybe a bit too much didactic information about American history in places, but descriptions of people and places were vivid and there was humour too. The writers also were not afraid to describe their own human weaknesses which ...more
Oct 15, 2012 Elisa rated it really liked it
I really liked the book and the way both authors shared their Canadian viewpoints. I was however frustrated at the way the book ended. I can understand that they probably were tired from their long Roadtrip....but the ending did not match the rest of the story. It seemed like they were in a hurry and the story just ended!
Jul 22, 2011 EJ rated it really liked it
I really liked this book. It is one of the books that leads you to so many others. I had to keep a pen and notebook handy to write down all the books they reference. John Steinbeck is high on the list. Travels with Charlie (never read), Grapes of Wrath (read in highschool which means not much now!).
Michael Seeds
Apr 29, 2013 Michael Seeds rated it it was amazing
This is an illuminating book because it is authored by two Canadians driving the long way home through the United States. It is interesting to see the US through foreign eyes that are not too foreign.
Jul 26, 2012 Alan rated it liked it
Entertaining writing, but I wouldn't take travel advise from anyone showing up at El Tovar at the Grand Canyon on Christmas day without a reservation. Walking in the door "hoping" there's a cancellation on one the busiest days of the year is simply foolish.
Jan 09, 2012 Beth rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A really interesting and informative book written by a married couple, both writers, as they travel from Vancouver, across the US, back to their home in Ontario. I loved reading about places that I have visited, and really enjoyed the interesting history bits thrown in along the way.
Oct 08, 2010 Patricia rated it really liked it
A very thought provoking travel book. I enjoyed it immensely. It is written in turn by a husband and wife team.
Jeff Campbell
Sep 12, 2013 Jeff Campbell rated it it was amazing
A great twist having two story tellers merge the tale together. You get a great sense of where they are coming from and their insights on their travels. A great read!
Aug 12, 2012 Dawn rated it really liked it
A great book to read while you're road-tripping around the U.S., particularly as a Canadian. There are some great insights and thoughts on the differences between our two countries.
Pingri rated it it was ok
Feb 24, 2013
4bravecats rated it really liked it
Sep 26, 2011
Jul 13, 2011 Daphne rated it it was amazing
It was a really interesting travelogue without being a travelogue!
Linda rated it it was amazing
Jul 25, 2016
Colleen rated it really liked it
Mar 21, 2011
Amy Collins
Amy Collins rated it it was ok
Jul 18, 2015
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Wayne Grady is the award-winning author of Emancipation Day, a novel of denial and identity. He has also written such works of science and nature as The Bone Museum, Bringing Back the Dodo, The Quiet Limit of the World, and The Great Lakes, which won a National Outdoor Book Award in the U.S. With his wife, novelist Merilyn Simonds, he co-authored Breakfast at the Exit Café: Travels Through ...more
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