American (And the art of getting over it) by Luke Healy can be slow in a few places. A few times I was feeling as if I was hiking a long, hot and sometimes repetitious trail. But overall the novel-graphic novel memoir is an interesting look at another American Dream.
Luke grew up in Ireland with a tight family, quirky and during a time when many young Irish people were leaving Ireland for work in other places. And he had a dream. A dream to come to America. And he did. Several times. But each time he was sent home. Through family trips and expiring visas, he thought his want of living in America would never happen. That is until he learned about The Pacific Crest Trail. A trial 2660 miles long and as miserable as it is beautiful. From Mexico to the Canadian border, many had tried to do this trail. Even seasoned hikers have not completed it, or only parts. And Healy decided to be a thru-hiker. Never mind he was not athletic. Never mind he had never camped before. Never mind that his idea of hiking was around his Irish town. And never mind his family thought him off his rocker. This was his American Dream.
And Healy finally got his chance, started to hike, wanted to quit, actually quit, got
blisters in places you never want to get blisters, ate trail food, drank questionable water,
stayed with people he had just meet, took hitchhiked rides, walked through rain and
snow, made friends, meet some interesting people and learned that you might just run
into more than mosquitoes at night when the mountain lion decides to wander into your
camp site. These laughs, the sweat, even blood (and probably a drug pick up) will make
you want to take this illustrated journey with Healy.
The illustrations are most of the book and they are just like the cover. Two-toned and simple details. There are long paragraphs and short panels. There is some adult language, but it is realistic and helps move the narrative along. Literally and figuratively this is not an easy read, but it is a worth while read and one you do not want to rush through.
And as a plus, Vermont and White River Junction is mentioned (and I know exactly where he got off on that train and started his college career).