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Friday, March 25, 2011

Review: Travel Writing

I grabbed "Travel Writing" from a shelf at Borders because of the spine. I loved the dots of colors and honestly, and mistakenly, assumed the book would be a collection of travel stories. And while there are a few pieces of travel writing in the book, Peter Ferry's "Travel Writing" is much more a mystery and a journey of people and of self than of cities or countries.

"Travel Writing" is narrated by Pete Ferry and essentially, the whole book is one long story being told to his high school English class. Pete tells his students the story of the evening he witnesses a fatal car accident and his obsession with the woman behind the wheel. His obsession takes a toll on his career and personal life, causing to re-evaluate his priorities. I don't want to give too much away because I think this book is great and absolutely recommend it, so let's talk about the cover.

The cover I own, and which, in my opinion is the best cover for the book, was designed by Alex Camlin. Presumably, the woman on the cover is Lisa Kim, the object of Ferry's obsession. I think the color-by-number idea is fantastic, as color-by-number is a process that slowly reveals a whole picture and Ferry is digging during the whole book to put together the puzzle of who Lisa Kim was.

A few more notes: 
One reason I did enjoy this book so much is it takes place in Lake Forest, IL. Since I cover Lake Forest-Lake Bluff for my reporting job, it was really interesting to read about locations and roads and a community that I am familiar with.

Another reason I was pleased with this book was it examined the limits of fact and fiction. The narrator discusses this with his class, and pushes the reader to think about it as well.

So if you're interested in reading something that is funny but also suspenseful, that blurs the lines of reality and is also a little bit about travel, I definitely recommend "Travel Writing".


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