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The American Dream? A Journey on Route 66 Discovering Dinosaur Statues, Muffler Man, and the Perfect Breakfast Burrito: a Graphic Memoir
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The American Dream? A Journey on Route 66 Discovering Dinosaur Statues, Muffler Man, and the Perfect Breakfast Burrito: a Graphic Memoir

3.67  ·  Rating details ·  587 ratings  ·  142 reviews
As a child growing up in Malaysia, Shing Yin Khor had two very different ideas of what “America” meant. The first looked a lot like Hollywood, full of beautiful people and sunlight and freeways. The second looked more like The Grapes of Wrath―a nightmare landscape filled with impoverished people, broken-down cars, barren landscapes, and broken dreams. This book chronicles ...more
Paperback, 160 pages
Published August 6th 2019 by Zest Books
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Average rating 3.67  · 
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 ·  587 ratings  ·  142 reviews

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Start your review of The American Dream? A Journey on Route 66 Discovering Dinosaur Statues, Muffler Man, and the Perfect Breakfast Burrito: a Graphic Memoir
Mar 22, 2020 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
2.5 stars

"There's just something about the mystique and nostalgia of Route 66. It was called 'the Main Street of America'! [Did] you know Steinbeck called it the 'Mother Road'? There's something legendary about [it] that still draws people in . . . " -- Doran Sanchez, U.S. Bureau of Land Management

The American Dream? documents writer / illustrator Khor's spring 2016 road-trip on one of America's earliest interstate highways. In pop culture it's often remembered from the 1946 R&B song written by
Dave Schaafsma
Sep 17, 2019 rated it liked it
This comics memoir is about Shing Yin Khor’s travel across the country via the iconic American highway, in search for the True America through ghost towns and goofy kitschy Americana such as dinosaur parks. They are Malaysian-American, living and loving it in Los Angeles, but they also have firmly implanted in their brain the cruel dustbowl narrative, The Grapes of Wrath. Inequity is as American as apple pie, and they know it, but they want to see more of the country themselves.

Route 66 runs fro
Jul 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2019, netgalley-2019
A graphic memoir of a trip along the iconic Route 66 through the eyes of an immigrant and her dog. Shing is an artist obsessed with Americana, travelling the byways of a more innocent time in America before the Interstates pushed through our country making the highways and the towns along them obsolete. I think my favorite moments were when she explored the many ghost towns and abandoned shops along the way. You can tell the long trip (especially since she roughed it by sleeping in her car or ca ...more
Rod Brown
Dec 18, 2019 rated it liked it
A Malaysian American woman road trips with a dog from California to Chicago on old Route 66. They say they were inspired to undertake the journey by John Steinbeck's The Grapes of Wrath, but since they are accompanied by Bug, the Tiny Adventure Dog, and do a lot of camping, I was surprised there was no mention of Travels with Charley: In Search of America.

Passably amusing and informative anecdotes from a unique perspective, but a little on the light side, with stabs at deeper meaning not really
Elizabeth A
Feb 17, 2020 rated it it was ok
All immigrants come to America with preconceived notions, and we are almost always way off base. Buy me a drink some day, and I'll tell what I expected to find. Spoiler alert - it's no more outrageous than people asking me if I rode a zebra to school - this actually happened. More than once!

This Malaysian born author lives in LA, and does realize that the coasts do not America make. What better excuse for a road trip? They pack their car and dog, and set out to explore Route 66, and find what th
Aug 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have been a fan of Shing Yin Khor's art for years, and I was so excited when this book was announced! Along with their adorable rescue dog, Bug, Shing sets out to drive the complete historic Route 66 from Los Angeles to Chicago. Along the way they chat with rangers, bikers, tourists, and the shop and cafe owners that are keeping pieces of American history alive. Shing's voice is warm, personal, and curious. The pages are painted in gorgeous full-color watercolors. The remains of blueline penci ...more
Growing up in Malaysia, Shing had seen what life in America was life in the media, and when they immigrated to Los Angles, they were exposed to some of those media features, as well as more through American media. It was the Grapes of Wrath that led them to thinking about American road trips and the idea of the American dream.

This immersive graphic memoir is about a (reverse) trip on Route 66, about nostalgia culture, and what it means to be an American. Shing doesn't shy away from highlighting
Steff Fox
| Reader Fox Blog |

I have to admit, I'm not really all that invested in Route 66 past its influence on the movie Cars, which I have loved since the first time I ever saw it. My interest in Shing Yin Khor's The American Dream? came more from the fact that it was a road trip story about a young immigrant truly interested in the history of the route. That, in and of itself, is kind of fascinating. And Khor didn't disappoint, both with the wonderfully eye-catching artwork (which includes their
May 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: comics
A fascinating exploration of and reflection on a pivotal piece of American history. I adore Shing's work, and this one shines. Emotional, funny, warm. Great art, love the colors. Bug arguably the best part. ...more
Jul 18, 2020 rated it liked it
This is a graphic novel about a young immigrate girl who decides to drive from the start of Route 66 to the end. Was not an especially interesting book.
I love looking at new things, through eyes that are not mine, and what better way to look at American than through the eyes of someone who was not originally from America.

Though the author has been living in Los Angeles for a number of years, she wants to see the real America, and so decides to take a trip on Route 66.

Back before President Eisenhower created the interstate highway system, those roads that all start with Interstate and an even or odd number, depending on the direction they are g
Aug 29, 2019 rated it it was ok
First off- The illustrations were fantastic. I loved the format of having illustrations and bits of commentary along the journey. The book started off really well; explaining the author's curiosity about a part of Americana that they'd heard of growing up abroad, giving a little history of Route 66, and bits about camping and meeting interesting people along the way. Unfortunately it quickly devolved into canned racism against white Americans. The author hypocritically wants you to feel sorry fo ...more
Sep 20, 2020 rated it really liked it
Growing up in Malaysia, Shing was influenced by sunny and beautiful Los Angeles and the Grapes of Wrath’s search for the American Dream. After living in L.A. for 10 years and having been a citizen for four years, Shing fantasized of driving the Historic Route 66 from Santa Monica, California to Chicago. She believed this ultimate road trip would be her pilgrimage to capture the American Dream. Millions are drawn to the “mystique and nostalgia of Route 66" or Steinbeck’s “Mother Road.” Many famil ...more
“After growing up abroad, and having traveled broadly around the world, the culture that has seemed the most foreign to me is still this homegrown Americana, with its large trucks, nostalgia, and hometown pride.”

I picked up this graphic memoir because I have a thing for memoirs about traveling and I have been interested in Route 66 ever since I watched CARS; and to my delight the movie is mentioned in this book.

Shing Yin Khor is a non-binary immigrant who takes a road trip on Route 66 to see wha
Oct 27, 2019 rated it really liked it
This graphic memoir recounts Shing Yin Khor’s road trip along the historic and iconic Route 66. Born in Malaysia, but living in Los Angeles, she sets out to to explore the "real America" and to see if she can find if the American dream still exists. She travels alone with just her dog for companionship. She passes through ghost towns and iconic historical landmarks, like wigwam hotels, car statues and dinosaur parks.

I enjoyed this graphic novel. The art depicted the a slice of long lost America
Jill Kenna
Jul 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This was a fantastic book about a woman and her dog traveling on Route 66. I absolutely adored the artwork. It was a gorgeous water color style that really helped capture the feeling of traveling alone and kind of melancholy that can creep in sometimes. I also really loved all the weird and interesting landmarks that she stopped at and all of her friends that made appearances in the book. I really couldn't find anything that I didn't like about this book. This type of cross country drive is some ...more
Oct 29, 2019 rated it liked it
Shing Yin Khor is a Malaysian-American comics artist currently living in LA who decided to explore her feelings about America and its mythology by taking a road trip down Route 66, all the way from LA to Chicago. It's a charming, honest and sweet little graphic memoir that's full of vibrant illustrations of quirky roadside attractions, but also touches on deeper topics like xenophobia, immigration and what it means to be an American. In an afterword, Khor mentions that she took this trip in Apri ...more
Aug 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for an advanced look at this incredible book!

I'm a long time fan of Shing Yin Khor's work, and I was so excited to see The American Dream? available on NetGalley! The book is absolutely beautiful, and very thoughtful. I maintain that a Bug Adventures book would be incredible as well. Highly recommend!
Oct 22, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-2019
It was a quick little read with a great glimpse into America’s complicated past and present as an American immigrant goes on a journey to discover more of America’s past and maybe to feel more included, but also a lot about camping, roadside tourist traps, and the longing for home and a sense of belonging.
Dec 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing
More than a graphic travelogue of Old Route 66, this brief tale also asks big questions about what it means to be an immigrant in America. Loved the illustrations by this talented artist, and the story moved quickly along the historic route. The history and personal stories along the journey were fun and deep at the same time. I'll definitely read more by this author. ...more
Heather Johnson
Jan 19, 2020 rated it really liked it
This would be a phenomenal read for my high school students as well. The appeal of the road trip and the quintessential interaction with all things Americana is captured in this book; however, the approach from an immigrant, atheist, female POV in a post-Trump America is powerful. I am curious about the reception at the middle school and will be purchasing this book for my high school as well!
Eduardo Santiago
Mar 24, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: woc
I wasn't prepared for how sweet this would be; nor how insightful or self-aware or funny. There's quite a lot packed into this thin little booklet: self-discovery, American culture (the good, the bad, the tacky), and the bonds that form our relationships and our selves. You will learn, laugh, and be moved.
Sep 30, 2019 rated it really liked it
I really liked this one - thoughtfully written and beautifully illustrated with art that ranges from cute to lovely. Appreciated the ruminations on road trips and travel writing, as well as the commentary on what was seen along the way.
Katie Bruell
Mar 31, 2020 rated it really liked it
This was a lot of fun, but also a thoughtful look at what it means to be an American, and at the concepts of belonging and home. And, of course, the dog Bug reminded me so much of my dog, that of course I was going to enjoy reading it!
Dec 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Read this graphic novel. Don't skip ahead. The ending shook me. ...more
Debi G.
This book barely seems to scratch the surface of the author/illustrator's journey. There are places and logistics and details I would like to hear more about.

It's a drive I've made numerous times, so it was nostalgic to read and look at, yet it was good for me to see the trip through eyes and experiences different from my own.
Oct 11, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I love road trip books, and this was fun.
Alanna Medina
Jun 04, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: graphic-novels
I received this book on Netgalley. All opinions are my own.
I enjoyed reading this graphic novel. I love anything involving road trips but this one wasn't anything extraordinary. I definitely laughed at some of the scenes with the dog. The art was okay and the trip itself was kind of boring. I feel like this trip definitely meant more to the author and you could see that through the story but as an outside reader, it was missing something that could make it stand out.
Jaclyn Hillis
May 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I loved this! It is also a dream of mine to drive Route 66 and camp! Her art was beautiful and I think she really encompassed the main attractions of Route 66, and it makes me even more excited to make the same drive one day.

Thank you NetGalley for an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.
May 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
A very sweet and adorably illustrated journey across half the country. Just a girl, her dog and her dream of historic route 66. It even has an illustration of one of the statues at my University! YAY!
Of course, there are observations here that could only be made by someone experience quintessential "Americana" through the eyes of an immigrant, and the epilogue is actually kind of heartbreaking. A unique look at a slice of life not may will experience.
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