Friday, December 07, 2007


"Ever reliable and responsible, Otis Halstead is a father, a husband (one half of a “well-dressed couple of substance”), and the CEO of Kansas Central Fire and Casualty. He has never done anything out of the ordinary. Until now.
The change in Otis starts with an antique toy fire truck, the exact model he had pined for at age ten but never received. Though it is now a collectible costing $12,350, he will buy it–because he can. Next comes a Daisy Red Ryder BB gun, ordered from the Nostalgia Today catalog. A Kansas City Chiefs regulation NFL helmet follows. But Otis’s real coup is the purchase of his one true childhood passion: a red 1952 Cushman Pacemaker motor scooter. For his baffled wife, Sally, this is the final straw. She insists that he see a shrink–a sloppy man with flowing hair who uses terms like “mature men in crisis” and “second childhood syndrome.” Otis is unimpressed–and extremely insulted–by the doctor’s insinuation that his baldness is to blame for his sudden interest in toys.
But it’s not until tragedy strikes uncomfortably close to home that Otis decides he wants out of his sensible, safe life in Eureka, Kansas. And so, a few weeks before his sixtieth birthday, Otis leaves town, heading west on old U.S. 56, a corporate CEO wearing a football helmet, riding a forty-year-old motor scooter, and with a BB gun strapped to the side. One might say he was in for an adventure. Otis would say he was finally about to experience life."*

Plain and simple, this is a book about a man going thru midlife crisis. Why am I reading a book about this? Guess. Yes, I must admit that, at times, I feel as though I am going thru a crisis. Whether it's midlife or not, I don't know. It has more to do with identity...knowing who I am and what I'm supposed to be doing. Has my life been a waste of time? Have I made my mark? Will I ever find myself? These are questions I ask myself everyday. So, I thought this book might be a good read.
As it turns out, it's quite a disappointing read. It starts promisingly enough with Otis in crisis and really starts to breathe when he "hits the road. The journey starts out great but then grinds to a screeching halt. What happens at the end is pretty dull. Lehrer has a right to end his book however he pleases but I didn't like it. Not one bit. Not only was his writing simple and dull, I found myself wanting more of the journey. I can't tell you how many times I've felt like Otis...just wanting to pack all my essentials in the back of my jeep and hitting the road. I understood how Otis felt and his need for escape. I wanted to journey vicariously thru him...thru the story. I didn't get a satisfying journey with this one. What a let down.


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