Tag Archive: road-trip


Review:


The Carolina Diaries: Belle

by Darlene Winters

The Carolina Diaries: BelleThe Carolina Diaries: Belle by Darlene Winters
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I don’t know. This was hard to read. It is hard to review. It feels autobiographical. Though it–

I don’t do this often as I figure people will go read the blurbs themselves. But this and the reviews make me wonder if I read the same book.

“Her cousin wants to die. She has the whole roadtrip to convince her otherwise.

Darlene only knows of one way to help her cousin Belle after a life of disappointments–go with her on a cross-country road trip, head back to California where Belle was born… and where she intends to die.

But deep family resentments and drama rides with them across the country, shedding light on heavy themes like sexual abuse and depression, as well as religion and politics. Growing up in North Carolina, these cousins have a lot of stories to share: some sad, some comical, and some just down right disturbing.

If you enjoyed Little Miss Sunshine and Girl, Interrupted, you’ll want to read The Carolina Diaries with its unique blend of dark humor and even darker perspectives of life past, present and future; the real take-aways being how to cope and heal.”

I found no humor. I wish I hadn’t picked it up. It was exactly what I don’t want to read before bed. All the reality of our daily news lives during this pandemic. And though I agree with the author on a lot of stances, I couldn’t deal with it in my bedtime fiction.

My fault. I saw road trip, my first name, and didn’t read the description.

Maybe if I read it during the day I could see the humor in a suicidal cutter who had lived with so much abuse, of every kind, during a pandemic during the political turmoil of 2020. No. I don’t think so.

The reason I am not giving this a lower rating is the list of good books and ideas the author presents. Unfortunately, the way it’s presented makes me sure the ones who need the information will not see it. Still, there’s a chance I could be wrong.

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The Moon SistersThe Moon Sisters by Therese Walsh
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I finished this ages ago. Mid-summer, I think. I still remember liking it. Though I have no sisters, I felt I could relate to both of the sisters’ points of view. As the oldest of three siblings, I had to be the responsible one taking care of the younger brothers, who were often caused their share of problems. On the other hand, I felt like the other sister in that music notes, words on paper, even how I hear words seem to be colored or animated or textured in some way that I know isn’t how normal people see/hear things. I’ve never been diagnosed as it never was a problem. It just added layers to my understanding of the world. So I quickly identified with both sisters.

It was fun that the more disabled of the sisters starts the adventure for both of them. It is unnerving for the reader to think that the one considered blind leads the way to hop the train.

For me, as I ‘read’ using text-to-speech, it was hard to know whose view I was seeing. I soon learned to take the time and read the chapter titles as that helped. After I got to know each of the characters, I didn’t need the reference so much. The characters were well developed.

The way the trip brings to mind the siblings history gave meat to what could have been just a joy-ride.

I don’t want to give any spoilers so I will just say, this is a fun book that I think many should read and enjoy.

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We Forgot What?!


About a half hour into our drive Thursday we realized something dreadful. We forgot my cd case. There was a hole in our truck the size of this:

 That meant   YIKES!!!!

What is a road trip without music?

Obviously, we didn’t have time to turn around and get my case. I know you more hipster types will say what about your phone? We live in the middle of nowhere, remember? Hardly a satellite ray gets through all this nothingness. And our phones don’t hold much of anything so downloaded music wouldn’t help either.

“I guess we’ll just have to talk to each other.” My honey said. We laughed. And then for most of the hour and a half drive to the next city, we said a few words to each other.

We ran into the store full of hopes of CDs. And it was time for dog and people relief. When I could, I walked to the electronics department, asked if they had CDs. There was a sales display with mostly DVDs but in the back were two CDs. Peter Frampton and Lionel Richie. No offense to the PF fans, but I chose Lionel Richie’s CD because a lot of his best songs were there. I could picture myself singing these for a while. Hello!

By the time we got to Portland, I was hoarse and beginning to tire of RL. But he got us there and helped me not get out of the car during the traffic jam stops.

We knew we would need more music to get through the five hours going back, even though we chose a different route to enjoy. Both ways were beautiful scenery for the eyes. Hubby and I had fun in spite of ourselves. But about three hours in, I longed for something else to sing. I thought about what I didn’t have in my case at home and John Denver and The Supremes came to mind. I figured if I found them they would be cheap,  like the RL, only $5!

But, NO. The only thing that appealed to me was a Beatles CD. It looked like it had a couple discs so I thought the $19 worthwhile. (Turned out one of the discs was a DVD). Ah, but I needed something for Hubby. I found a Celtic Woman that I didn’t think we had in either of our cases. By the way, he has a case, too. But I was the driver so the music needs to be there for ME!

I can’t tell you how happy that Beatles CD made me. I was rockin’ out and proving that I could remember most of the words. I missed friends–Kay, and her sisters and times of dancing and acting silly back in the day.  And my Potpourri (<–a group I sang with a long time ago) friends and our harmonizing Beatle toons on our way to and from the recording studio. Yep, you heard me right. The group was making a Christmas madrigally tape for friends and family. So Beatles and CW were expensive but worth the buy. I grooved to the Beatle CD until we were nearly home. 27 songs!!!

Then it was dark and I needed something soothing and to give my voice a rest:

Yeah, nope. I needed to pull over to the side of the road just to fully enjoy these voices and songs I could sing along with. I highly recommend everyone getting this–and the Beatles one. The Lionel Richie–well it was good for a long time but I bet I won’t listen to it again for a while.

By the way, my go-to music is usually Broadway musicals like Into the Woods, Phantom of the Opera, Les Miserables, etc. Or books on CDs.

What do you listen to on long drives?

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