Johnny's Reviews > Greyhound

Greyhound by Steffan Piper
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's review
Sep 26, 10

bookshelves: fiction, adolescent-protagonist, male-protagonist
Read from September 16 to 26, 2010

I read this merely because I was inundated with the ads on my Goodreads and Amazon accounts and finely succumbed to the constant barrage of animated boxes proclaiming that I was certain to love it. "Love" is certainly a strong word for an inadvertently quiet and easy book like Greyhound, although I did enjoy the experience in the way one enjoys something your TiVo records for you, something you never would have recorded on your own but when you have an hour to kill you're certainly thankful that it you've got it.

Having read this book so soon after Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, both of which have a pre-adolescent narrator on a quest of sorts, I never found myself as endearingly attracted to Steffan Piper's Sebastian Ranes as Jonathan Safran Foer's Oskar Schell. I liked Sebastian alright; I just didn't root for him in his struggles in quite the manner I find myself wanting to do for most protagonists in this genre. Sebastian wasn't nearly as damaged as he should have been, so perhaps that plays into my overall apathy now that I sit back and think about it in its entirety.

Having ridden many a Greyhound bus in my college days, the seemingly outrageous things that happen to Sebastian on his four-day journey across country don't seem all that outrageous really. Halfway through the novel, a recently released ex-convict named Marcus that befriends Sebastian tells him, "Here are you in Gallup, New Mexico, on your birthday, halfway across the country with no family of any kind, travelin' with an ex-convict and the driver's license of a pedophile in your jacket pocket, and you're asking why some woman doesn't want her kid?" Oh, and Marcus forget to mention that Sebastian's first bus is hijacked by a disgruntled passenger and during one point of his journey one of the buses catches fire and explodes in the middle of the desert. I have few legitimate issues with the book, and hilariously, Sebastian's string of ridiculous encounters with danger is not one of them!

That said, this is definitely a book I'd recommend, particularly to some of the more reluctant readers in my life or for those who don't care to struggle through "great works" with their themes buried beneath carefully structured prose. (I think a lot of my students would really love this books.)

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Quotes Johnny Liked

Steffan Piper
“Maybe that's all real love was--just something that happened quickly and vanished, a kind of gesture to a stranger or a fleeting moment of passion.”
Steffan Piper, Greyhound

Reading Progress

52.0% "Two days on a Greyhound and already we've endured a hijacking, an attempted kidnapping, a pedophile, and a dead body...yup, sounds about right for traveling by bus!"

Comments (showing 1-1 of 1) (1 new)

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Kristen I totally agree about your Tivo analogy! :)

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