Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour (by Morgan Matson)

8 08 2011

No strings attached, fun summer reads still exist and Morgan Matson’s debut Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour (almost as much a mouthful as Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist – with which it has more in common than at first glance) is a prime example of this! More than just a fluffy read (though it is definitely also the ideal companion for hot summer nights), it also deals with coming to terms with your past, accepting responsibility, and moving on.

The book describes Amy’s trip across America as she discovers the importance of acceptance – the acceptance of her role in her father’s death 3 months earlier. Amy’s mother has moved to Connecticut in an attempt to forget what happened to her family. She has made arrangements for her daughter Amy to join her in their new ‘home’, there’s only one problem. Since the death of her father in a car accident, Amy doesn’t drive anymore, which is a bit of an obstacle if you have to cross all those American states between California and Connecticut. Enter Roger, who’s forced to spend his summer with his father in Philadelphia, much to his own dislike.

In Amy’s opinion, her mom treats this trip in the same way as how she deals with losing her husband – too matter of factly – so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that she has mapped out the perfect business-like itinerary for Amy, including reservations at the right motels. That’s what this trip is supposed to be: how to get from A to B in the most efficient way. Both Amy and Roger, though, have stuff to work through and they soon realize that to truly reach your destination, to truly get home, you have to make a couple of detours. These detours take them to places with special importance to either Amy (Yosemite National Park & Graceland) or Roger (Colorado Springs & Louisville).

Anyone who’s ever made a road trip like the one described in the book knows that half of the fun is in the details, and it’s the details that you remember. Like a song that you kept on listening to during that particular trip; or a diner or restaurant you always went to (::cough:: Denny’s ::cough::). Something, anything you just associate with that particular trip and that you remember and want to remember in the future. Those bits and pieces, those all-important details, are incorporated in the book as well, as Matson includes a ‘scrapbook’ with notes, photos of trees (Amy loves photos of trees!), and of course, their playlists!

The cat’s enjoyment of Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour also lies in the fact that she recognized quite a few elements that Matson mentioned when Amy and Roger visit a certain place. I guess it’s especially all the elements of recognition and fond remembrance that contributed to the appeal of this book for the cat… Here are the cat’s highlights (only for insiders!):

  • The ‘Ithaca is gorges’ magnet (got the t-shirt!)
  • Highway 50, the loneliest road in America and *especially* when Matson describes how Roger got a bit worried about their gas after driving for hours along Highway 50 without seeing a gas station… Made the cat remember a certain time when we all went: “hmm..even though we still have almost half a tank, maybe we should drive back to the previous gas station  – about 45 minutes earlier – considering we’ve only seen err… nothing much to brighten up the road.
  • “Oh, and look there’s Ramon, NM.” [2 houses and 2 seconds further] “Right, so that was Ramon, NM.”
  • Describing Loo-ville 😉
  • The pink Cadillacs at the entrance of Graceland

Yes, Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour is an easy read. Yes, Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour has a predictable storyline. Yes, you know how it will end from the get-go. But, it’s not about the destination, right, but about how you get there. And in this case, you get there having so much fun along the way! Fun and some tears. But mostly fun! Yay to entertainment! Yay to optimism! Yay to summer reads!

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21 08 2012
Second Chance Summer (by Morgan Matson) « Ringo the Cat's Blog

[…] her very engaging debut novel Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour, Morgan Matson is back for more! Second Chance Summer has many of the same ingredients that made […]

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