The Long and Whining Road is about one of the craziest road trips you can possibly imagine. Simeon Courtie and his wife, along with their three children, took one year to circumnavigate the globe…in a VW camper van! By the end of their journey they had driven over 18,000 miles, visited 17 countries, and sung sounds by The Beatles in most of them to raise money for UNICEF. This is the story of the many amazing places they visited and the great people they met along the way.
I hate to say this because I think it’s one of those cases where I’m the problem, not the book. However, the first half of this book really dragged by for me. I felt like their were far more vivid sensory descriptions of their later stops, starting in India. The first half was an occasionally funny, but mostly dry and factual account of what the family did. At the same time, I was stressing about a presentation and feeling overwhelmed by my book review schedule, so it’s possible my experience of the second half of the book is a more accurate representation.
I first started to feel connected to the family and like I was sharing their experiences when they reached India. There were beautiful place descriptions and fun travel stories, but also some grappling with tough decisions when their itinerary had to change. Even tougher were the social issues they had to confront during their travels, a very enlightening and moving thing to read about. The humorous bits of the book included pop culture references which I typically liked, some breaking of the fourth wall which I typically didn’t, and some dry humor which was funny but rarely so much so that I laughed out loud. At the end of the day, I think I’d recommend this most to people who like a very dry, sarcastic sense of humor and/or fans of travel memoirs with a humanitarian side.This review first published on Doing Dewey.