If you like McMurtry's fiction, and want to know about McMurtry the person, read this book. If you instead love travel, and travel tales, recognize that this in not a travel book. It's value is in getting a bit deeper into McMurtry's soul and in the snippits of info he shares about the authors who have lived in the areas through which he travels.
Boy, I wanted to like this book! I like McMurtry's work a lot, and I love travel - but I'm left wondering what the real motivation was for this book. It reads like something a bored old man would engage in when trying to recapture some positive experiences of the past, but discovering that what comes to the surface is not the good stuff but all of the repressed negative memories.
He begins by telling us that he doesn't want to re-do the already done slow backroad crawl of America's soul, so he'll confine himself to fast but interesting shots down our nation's interstates (an early clue to a task undoable!). He ends by telling us that his venture has been enlightening to the point of revealing that the paradise of American roads is not an interstate at all (what a surprise!), but a long two laner through the high plains of northern Montana. At this point, any lesser author would have been told by his publisher to go back and rewrite this - something McMurtry should have done at his own volition.
Non-fiction. Very well written small pieces about the author driving in America. Makes you want to get in your car and just drive from state to state.
Mr. McMurtry has a little gem here. Unlike other travel books where explorers take to the road less traveled, he sticks to the interstates. He's not interested in meeting the locals, he "just wants to look." Makes me feel better about the kind of travel I sometimes do.
Larry also is very candid: if he doesn't like a town or its people, he says so. No sugar coating here. He throws in lots of stories from his past, because he's traveled a lot of these roads in the distant past and wants to see them again. I found the book refreshing, and at times laugh out loud funny.
Not his usual. Good travel/memoir/history book.