Cat Sebastian is always good, but Peter Cabot Gets Lost is a whole other level of Cat Sebastian goodness. She says in her author’s note that she wrote it in March 2020, just after the US went into lockdown. So she wrote about a cross country road trip. It makes perfect sense. For all that Peter and Caleb are on the open road, there is a sense of isolation. They interact with very few people apart from each other. For as many miles as the car goes, a lot of the story takes place in internal dialogue, conversations, and small motel rooms.
Peter Cabot Gets Lost is more vibe than plot. The plot is that Peter and Caleb drive from Cambridge, Massachusetts to Los Angeles, California in 1960 in a 1956 Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz (you should image search the car, they are gorgeous). Peter and Caleb have just graduated from Harvard. Peter is running away from the suffocating disappointment of his family. Caleb is running towards a job in Los Angeles, and away from being poor. When Caleb’s money to buy a bus ticket falls through, Peter impulsively offers him a ride. Anything to avoid joining his father’s Presidential campaign. Caleb has always resented Peter’s wealth and the way it smooths his path.
Caleb is surly, prickly and pretty much at the end of his rope. He has no more energy to hold his camouflage together. Peter is all polished façade and facing a future he does not want with people who make him feel unwanted. The poetry in Caleb’s head is a stark contrast to his terse manner with Peter. Peter, whose safety has always depended on being able to read the people around him, is able to interpret Caleb’s gruff love language.
It’s a lovely and short read. Expansive and intimate.
The two are always aware of the homophobia in the air and in the laws, but they aren’t confronted with it directly. Caleb has some memories of being bullied for being different as a child.
I received this as an advance reader copy from the author in exchange for an honest review.