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Jack Kerouac Isn't The Only Author Calling For

abstract:There have been many books about the value of a good road trip. From Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry into Values (P.S.) where the author finds spiritual enlightenment to his troubles and which has been a manuel to people since, to Jack Kerourac's, On the Road(Penguin Great Books of the 20th Century) from the 60s Beat generation when wanderlust was a Life Skill 101 class field trip and required reading. A new book has emerged to join them. Written by Doreen Orion Queen of the Road: The True Tale of 47 States, 22,000 Miles, 200 Shoes, 2 Cats, 1 Poodle, a Husband, and a Bus with a Will of Its Own (Broadway Books, New York 2008) pretty much says it all. And BookBuffet reviewer Dee Raffo reports that it is "One of the best feel good books [she's] read all year." So if the financial crisis has got you down and you can't quit your job because that mortgage underwater, pick-up a little escapism and start planning your next - ROAD TRIP!


November 17, 2008
Queen of the Road had my boyfriend looking at me a little oddly even after the first chapter, snorts of laughter and nods of agreement in the direction of a book made him slightly anxious. But with statements like this how can you blame me?

"When a girl finds herself forced to live on a bus for a year, the least she can do is throw a fabulous going away party. Besides, one must always look for occasions to wear one’s boa." – Too true.

Honestly this is one of the best feel good books I have read this year, an amazing story of a couples journey across 47 states in a pimped out touring bus, with a poodle, two cats and 200 pairs of shoes! The author, Doreen Orion, narrates this true story from start to finish, not leaving out any personal thought or event along the way. A self confessed "Princess of Long Island", our leading lady, sorry Princess, was born in Great Neck, NY, before moving to study at George Washington University Medical School in D.C. Leaving with a degree in psychiatrics, she moved to Tucson, AZ with her then archaeologist husband, but in her own words…

"I told him I’d do my residency wherever he chose to get his Ph.D., not for one moment thinking he’d pick a city with no Nordstrom. We divorced soon after…"

She met her future husband and bus driver, Tim, whilst in residency after he tricked her into going on a date, you’ll have to read the book for that one, and they moved to Boulder, CO in 1993. She had always had an interest in writing and produced her first book I Know You Really Love Me: A Psychiatrist's Account of Stalking and Obsessive Love, winning the Colorado Author’s League Top Hand Award for Non-fiction and becoming a bestseller on Amazon. Doreen has had many appearances in the media as a psychiatric expert including Larry King Live, 48 Hours, Good Morning America, The Discovery Channel, People Magazine, The New York Times, NPR and many others. She also explains that she had to "beef up her wardrobe" to speak with forensic and law enforcement groups around the country.

I connected with Doreen straight away, it may have been the cocktail recipes at the start of each chapter that gave me the hint that this would be a woman I’d like to meet, but also her style of writing is very open and honest.

2 1/2 parts Bacardi 151
1 ½ parts orange curaco
Squeeze lemon
Hold lit match in one hand, shaker in the other. Bring together until hair catches fire. Make note to use only 80 proof rum next time.

As the journey takes her through each state you are taken on a journey of realisation along with her. The book is extremely comical but underlying this funny exterior Doreen examines the underpinning of her marriage, and of her own characteristics and perhaps how these have, at times, held her back from really experiencing the things around her.

"…that I never got stung by a bee until the age of forty-three – and that was in the house. I just like being inside. I like not getting dressed. I like not putting on make up. I like not brushing my teeth…well, never mind. Some might call me lazy. I can’t be bothered to disagree."

Like sharing thoughts with a best friend we watch as Doreen begins to change attitudes she’d thought were an imbedded part of her personality.

"I had been so focused on the change in lifestyle thrust on me by this trip, that I didn’t consider it might actually be causing changes in me."

It is great that her and Tim are so different; labelling herself as a cat person and her husband as a dog person I think this initially is a very funny and correct description. She lovingly labels him ‘Project Nerd’ and as you read through the reasons for this nickname become very evident.

"‘..the first time he suggested we split the chores on a weekly basis, I said, ' that’s fine, honey, but on my week I’ll write a check.'"

As the story evolves and Doreen finds herself in new places and situations that line between the two of them becomes more blurred. She changes from a person who can spend up to 118 hours inside to biking and hiking along beaches, camera in hand. As a couple they turn off the television and are amazed at what they have to say to each other.

"‘We realized that night, that while revelling in our differences is fun, perhaps, even after all these years, we each have something to learn from the other."

Tim’s idea to hit the road initially horrifies Doreen but after some well-timed cajoling she packs her 200 pairs of shoes and soon finds herself on the road. They truly love each other, which is evident from the beginning, but you do get a sense that this is re-confirmed and made stronger by their trip.

"Once back on the road, I couldn’t help but notice again how Tim seemed mellower, as if he were starting to 'detox' from his many years as a medical director and patient care duties. His boyishness and sense of fun came back in full force."

I’m sure each reader will find a connection with something that Doreen experiences, even if you’re not into your buses, she certainly touches on some subjects that seem to be a part of modern life that a lot of people will relate to.

"Our lives were so crammed with demands on our time that something we should have found pleasurable became almost another burden."

This book was a pleasure to read, it made me laugh out loud and has such a positive message that I was a little sad coming to the final pages. You needn’t stop there though, Doreen Orion has a fantastic blog page with lots more information and anecdotes that will keep you giggling!

"A Princess can do anything she puts her mind to – provided she’s wearing the right outfit."

Dee Raffo— BookBuffet Reviewer



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