Book Review: “Travels with Charley: In Search of America”

Sometimes, you begin a book without expecting much from it, and when you finish the last page, it is ranked among your personal classics. This is the experience I had while reading “Travels with Charley”, by John Steinbeck.

It seems simple on the surface, a man traveling across America with his dog. But Steinbeck captures the intangible, the feeling that drew the pioneers west across the prairies, the one that made him load up a van and take off across 1960 America with his French poodle, the one that makes me want to live other places than my little town in Texas. The pictures he paints with his words are exquisite, in how they draw out that need so many of us have, to GO, to SEE, to LEARN, to EXPERIENCE something, ANYTHING different.
Steinbeck’s experiences with people are refreshing, interesting, thought-provoking, sometimes sad. His descriptions of American scenery and his place in it are beautiful and inspiring. I imagine I will have to read it many more times, to see all there is to see in this written painting of America. I feel strongly that this book will be a gift that keeps on giving something new, no matter how many times I read it.
I felt so many things while reading this book, but mostly, I felt a sweet nostalgic longing, for a time that ceased to exist before I was born. I yearned for the simplicity and uniqueness that Steinbeck speaks of, when he writes of his encounters with the people he met along the way. And how perfect, that such a simple and profound journey would be taken with a loyal little dog for a companion! John Steinbeck’s writing took my breath away! He is an author who makes every word count! I appreciated the way he described the places, the people, his perceptions, and most poignantly, the way he captured the longing of every restless human on Earth, TO GO.
A classic in every sense of the word!


Author: Jena

Hi there. Thanks for stopping by. I am a small-town Southern writer, book hoarder, technology enthusiast, unashamed cat lady, and huge fan of the Outlander series. I have a degree in Psychology from the University of Texas at Tyler. I love nothing more than to paint pictures with words, and to make people happy, and if I can do both at the same time, all the better. Gratitude, simple joys, and optimism are the cornerstones of my life philosophy. I am totally blind, and I have non 24 sleep disorder, and temporal lobe epilepsy. These health issues make for some interesting times, but adversity has taught me wisdom I never would have learned otherwise. I hope you will enjoy my writing, and I thank you for taking the time to read it.

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