Book Concierge's Reviews > Travels with Charley: In Search of America

Travels with Charley by John Steinbeck
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Jun 21, 12

Read in June, 2012

I first read this when I was in high school - about 4 or 5 years after it was first published. I recently revisited it via the audio book, performed by Gary Sinese

In 1960 John Steinbeck undertook to travel across America. He had lived in and traveled to various parts of the country, but longed “to hear the speech of the real America, to smell the grass and the trees, to see the colors and the light.” He bought and outfitted a truck, Rocinante, and with his French poodle, Charley, set out. His goal was not to visit typical tourist destinations but to get the feel of the country and its people. Along the way he met and conversed with many folks, including farmers, truckers, and waitresses. He traveled by interstate for part of the trip, but preferred the smaller roads, where he might come across a road-side stand selling local produce, fresh eggs, honey, or jams. He stopped in small towns and large cities; he visited with old friends, made new ones, and even encountered a bear in Yellowstone National Park. But mostly he enjoyed peace and quiet and a lot of time for thinking. His book is not just a travelogue but a series of essays on the American populace and on a way of life that was rapidly disappearing.

Gary Sinese has a facility with voices that really makes this work come alive. This is the second audio of a Steinbeck book that I’ve listened to with Sinese as narrator. I suspect he has a particular fondness for the author. He certainly performs the audios well.
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