This highly entertaining, and fast paced book by filmmaker, writer, and commentator by John Waters is two thirds fiction and one third reality.
Although the sub-title of the book fails to provide this message, the book gives the reader a good idea of how American change from state to state, and how each state government has its own quirky ideas about life, freedoms, and politics.
The name of Untied States of America is very apt as this book proves.
The narrative is repetitive by the nature of the undertaking that is to hitchhike from Baltimore to San Francisco.
For an individual over the age of 60, this is a courageous adventure, although John Waters had all the modern communication devices available and communicated with his office and secretaries frequently when needed.
The narrative is easy to read, absorbing with sentences that may appear to be crazy, silly, charming, revolting, outlandish, irreverent, creative and even inappropriate. Yet, they are there to make the text lively and compel the reader to continue.
The book is also about being alone in a huge country with a range of landscapes, peoples of different beliefs, how being alone feels, and how people behave when alone with an uncertain immediate future.
Hitchhiking can be pleasantry, but also dangerous, unpredictable, and highly prone to rapidly changing situations.
The author portrays how the average American, thinks, and behaves. Some are delightful, and generous individuals willing to help strangers, others display cautious behaviour, yet others are trusting, and naive.
A few states seem to be “backward”, with a “brutal” police force and policies that clash with liberal political ideas.
John Waters has the ability to show humanity at its most ridiculous and laudable state.
Recommended top all interested in learning first hand about ordinary Americans, American thinking and American states. Don’t miss it.