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Reviewed by Vincent Dublado for Readers' Favorite
Nick is the nineteen-year-old hero of Hitchhiking Across America: 1963 by Daniel Robinson. From Nick’s point of view, you are about to see the different facets of American life as he sets forth on a road trip that will make him encounter the different faces that represent America. The year is 1963, and Nick works at a Harrah’s Club restaurant at Lake Tahoe. An idea suddenly flashes through his mind that he should go hitchhiking across America. It didn’t take him that long to get going because his dishwashing job offers very little excitement. During his travels, he learns about Jim Crow and how it enforces segregation. He discovers something about the secret life of JFK. World War II veterans will tell their war experiences and how it has impacted their lives. He will also meet individuals whose lives play a significant part in what it means to live in the Land of the Free.
One of the lovely qualities of this fictional hitchhiking story is that all the characters that Nick encounters are necessary. They are not just characters placed on Nick’s specific routes for the sake of keeping the plot running. They are not storyline conveniences but are elements in Nick’s learning experience. Hitchhiking Across America does have moments where Nick explores the dangers of hitchhiking, but this is a tale that deviates from the common Hollywood-induced impression that many psychos pick up hitchhikers and kill them. Daniel Robinson paints a storyline with strong connections to the legacy of those who have done it before, such as Jack Kerouac, Joni Mitchell, Marvin Gaye, and even Pearl Jam. As hitchhiking has become a rare opportunity for modern connections, this story is a must-read to experience in reading how hitchhiking opens your horizons to a bigger world.