I really wanted to like this book. The author goes on a quest to visit the graves of all the American Presidents and Vice Presidents. Unfortunately, I would have put the emphasis on graves and not on the author’s discovery of himself.
Mr. Tucker starts the book by announcing to his wife of 25 years that he is buying an RV and leaving her for months to go walkabout. He does not allow any discussion. He can’t really justify the trip to her or to his friends (or the reader), not even by calling it a midlife crisis. Whenever he gets lonely on the road, he visits a Wall-Mart to gawk at the rampant consumerism and desperate unhappiness of Americans outside of the privileged enclave where he was born to money. As narrators go, he is not someone I wanted to snuggle up to for 300 pages.
The book unfolds in map-order, following the author as he travels outward from New York. Since I only have a tenuous grasp on the order of American presidents (and no idea whatsoever about the vice presidents), I needed a whole lot more history to understand the chronology. I’m not sure how he could have assembled the book differently, but I was often lost.
The final straw, though, was that I wanted to know about the monuments to the fallen men, as well as the graveyards in which they lay. I wanted a guidebook and not a memoir. If you have a whole lot more historical knowledge than I brought to the book — and you’re interested in midlife quests — you will enjoy the book more than I did. George Soros liked it.
I bought my copy from Amazon: The Bear Went Over the Mountain-Finding America. Finding Myself.