Earlier this year, after reading "Far and Away: A Prize Every Time," Neil Peart’s fifth book on road travel, I figured I had my fill of such writings. They can be, after all, a little tedious at times.
I was wrong. Paul Jury’s new book, “States of Confusion: My 19,000-Mile Detour to Find Direction,” pleased me immensely.
As someone who took a few long road trips, back when my body could take three days in a row of Egg McMuffins and Taco Bell, and driving from sunrise to sunset, I related to the author’s experience.
But my trips were nothing compared to what Jury did. Post-college, he challenged himself to drive to and "do something interesting in," each of the lower 48 states in 48 days.
The read is fast, as he whips on to the next state. But whips is not the right word. With a purists pride, Jury did not take any interstate hiways.
Twenty-some readers will enjoy this book the most. His worldview is a young one, and he leans on stereotypes to understand what unfolds before him, but he also displays a balance of thoughts and opinions.
And you have to give him a break. Jury did not have a lot in his wallet, the tiger in his van was weakening fast, and with big worries over what he left behind, the albatross hung heavy. He survived hick patrol officers, eating too many peanut butter sandwiches, being stranded in the middle of nowhere on a hot day, stung by a jellyfish, and dealing with all the crap you would expect on a long journey.
The ending of the book is a little flat, but it all adds up to a very enjoyable read. I bet Peart would enjoy it.