The American Dream? a Journey on Route 66 Discovering Dinosaur Statues, Muffler Man, and the Perfect Breakfast Burrito
As a child growing up in Malaysia, Shing Yin Khor had two very different ideas of what “America” meant. The first looked a lot like Hollywood, full of beautiful people and sunlight and freeways. The second looked more like The Grapes of Wrath - a nightmare landscape filled with impoverished people, broken-down cars, barren landscapes, and broken dreams. Those contrasting ideas have stuck with Shing ever since, even now that she lives and works in LA. How to Poop in Nature is Shing’s attempt to find what she can of both of these Americas on a solo journey (small adventure-dog included) across the entire expanse of that iconic road, beginning in Santa Monica and ending up Chicago. And what begins as a road trip ends up as something more like a pilgrimage in search of an American landscape that seems forever shifting, forever out of place.

The American Dream? a Journey on Route 66 Discovering Dinosaur Statues, Muffler Man, and the Perfect Breakfast Burrito Details

TitleThe American Dream? a Journey on Route 66 Discovering Dinosaur Statues, Muffler Man, and the Perfect Breakfast Burrito
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseAug 6th, 2019
PublisherZest Books
ISBN-139781942186373
Rating
GenreSequential Art, Graphic Novels, Nonfiction, Autobiography, Memoir, Comics, Travel

The American Dream? a Journey on Route 66 Discovering Dinosaur Statues, Muffler Man, and the Perfect Breakfast Burrito Review

  • Chad
    January 1, 1970
    A graphic memoir of a trip along the iconic Route 66 through the eyes of an immigrant and her dog. Shing is an artist obsessed with Americana, travelling the byways of a more innocent time in America before the Interstates pushed through our country making the highways and the towns along them obsolete. I think my favorite moments were when she explored the many ghost towns and abandoned shops along the way. You can tell the long trip (especially since she roughed it by sleeping in her car or ca A graphic memoir of a trip along the iconic Route 66 through the eyes of an immigrant and her dog. Shing is an artist obsessed with Americana, travelling the byways of a more innocent time in America before the Interstates pushed through our country making the highways and the towns along them obsolete. I think my favorite moments were when she explored the many ghost towns and abandoned shops along the way. You can tell the long trip (especially since she roughed it by sleeping in her car or camping) wears on her towards the end as later states are glossed over even though Missouri and Illinois are two of the states she spent the longest time in. the art is somewhat rudimentary but the water colors are very nice, especially in landscape scenes.Received a review copy from Zest Books and NetGalley. All thoughts are my own and in no way influenced by the aforementioned.
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  • Laura
    January 1, 1970
    I love looking at new things, through eyes that are not mine, and what better way to look at American than through the eyes of someone who was not originally from America. Though the author has been living in Los Angeles for a number of years, she wants to see the real America, and so decides to take a trip on Route 66.Back before President Eisenhower created the interstate highway system, those roads that all start with Interstate and an even or odd number, depending on the direction they are g I love looking at new things, through eyes that are not mine, and what better way to look at American than through the eyes of someone who was not originally from America. Though the author has been living in Los Angeles for a number of years, she wants to see the real America, and so decides to take a trip on Route 66.Back before President Eisenhower created the interstate highway system, those roads that all start with Interstate and an even or odd number, depending on the direction they are going, roads were two lanes, and meandered across the country. Most are gone now, replaced by the Interstate highways, no longer needed.But Route 66 was the one, as the song says, that stretched from Chicago to L.A. It was one of the longest of the early roads, and it was the one that was heavily used.And though it is gone, offically, it lives on and is maintained, and people from around the world can be found traveling it to see if they can find the old America.And so Shing sets out to drive it, and this is her story. It is intersting, and funny and sad, and all those things you want from a road trip.She meets people along the way, and wild donkeys, and other features of the road. It is a fun trip, and beautifully illustrated.Thanks to Netgalley for making this book available for an honest review.
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  • Maia
    January 1, 1970
    I have been a fan of Shing Yin Khor's art for years, and I was so excited when this book was announced! Along with their adorable rescue dog, Bug, Shing sets out to drive the complete historic Route 66 from Los Angeles to Chicago. Along the way they chat with rangers, bikers, tourists, and the shop and cafe owners that are keeping pieces of American history alive. Shing's voice is warm, personal, and curious. The pages are painted in gorgeous full-color watercolors. The remains of blueline penci I have been a fan of Shing Yin Khor's art for years, and I was so excited when this book was announced! Along with their adorable rescue dog, Bug, Shing sets out to drive the complete historic Route 66 from Los Angeles to Chicago. Along the way they chat with rangers, bikers, tourists, and the shop and cafe owners that are keeping pieces of American history alive. Shing's voice is warm, personal, and curious. The pages are painted in gorgeous full-color watercolors. The remains of blueline pencil under the finished artwork give the whole book the immediate and intimate feeling of a travel journal. Thoughts on being an immigrant and searching for a homeland are woven through the portraits of kitschy roadside attractions. This book is a quick and highly recommended read.
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  • Steff Pasciuti
    January 1, 1970
    I have to admit, I'm not really all that invested in Route 66 past its influence on the movie Cars, which I have loved since the first time I ever saw it. My interest in Shing Yin Khor's The American Dream? came more from the fact that it was a road trip story about a young immigrant truly interested in the history of the route. That, in and of itself, is kind of fascinating. And Khor didn't disappoint, both with the wonderfully eye-catching artwork (which includes their absolutely adorable dog I have to admit, I'm not really all that invested in Route 66 past its influence on the movie Cars, which I have loved since the first time I ever saw it. My interest in Shing Yin Khor's The American Dream? came more from the fact that it was a road trip story about a young immigrant truly interested in the history of the route. That, in and of itself, is kind of fascinating. And Khor didn't disappoint, both with the wonderfully eye-catching artwork (which includes their absolutely adorable dog called Bug) and a very engaging story. And though I wouldn't ordinarily be much interested in much about Route 66 and what exists alongside it or the American dream, which a large part of me believes is pretty much dead or as close to dead as it could be without being so, I did have a really good time reading it.I learned a lot about the history of Route 66 while reading this book and I won't say that it left any kind of lasting effect on me, in fact, I don't even remember the majority of it off the top of my head. But there's something amazing about places that really bring out a lot of passion within a person. And you can feel Shing Yin Khor's passion seeping from every single page within this graphic novel. And I didn't just learn about the route, but I learned about the people on it. I learned about the experiences they had as a result of being an immigrant--or basically, just not being white--and it was insightfully eye-opening.I do find it quite depressing that the experience Khor had would probably be a little harder to have now, as this trip was taken before the racists took over the country and Trump was elected President. But I am glad to know that Khor had the chance to complete this trip and I am glad to have gotten a chance to read her work. There's a lot of amazing and worthwhile things in this novel and I definitely feel as though I left reading this book with something better than what I came into it. And I think this could be a great read for many other people, too.I was provided a free copy of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.| Twitter | Reader Fox Blog | Instagram |
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  • Laura
    January 1, 1970
    A fascinating exploration of and reflection on a pivotal piece of American history. I adore Shing's work, and this one shines. Emotional, funny, warm. Great art, love the colors. Bug arguably the best part.
  • Jill Kenna
    January 1, 1970
    This was a fantastic book about a woman and her dog traveling on Route 66. I absolutely adored the artwork. It was a gorgeous water color style that really helped capture the feeling of traveling alone and kind of melancholy that can creep in sometimes. I also really loved all the weird and interesting landmarks that she stopped at and all of her friends that made appearances in the book. I really couldn't find anything that I didn't like about this book. This type of cross country drive is some This was a fantastic book about a woman and her dog traveling on Route 66. I absolutely adored the artwork. It was a gorgeous water color style that really helped capture the feeling of traveling alone and kind of melancholy that can creep in sometimes. I also really loved all the weird and interesting landmarks that she stopped at and all of her friends that made appearances in the book. I really couldn't find anything that I didn't like about this book. This type of cross country drive is something that I have wanted to do as well so it was nice to see someone else do it. There were some good tips for camping in your car as well. I would highly recommend this to anyone who is a fan of travel log or road trip books. Thank you to NetGalley for the free review copy.
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  • Holly
    January 1, 1970
    Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for an advanced look at this incredible book! I'm a long time fan of Shing Yin Khor's work, and I was so excited to see The American Dream? available on NetGalley! The book is absolutely beautiful, and very thoughtful. I maintain that a Bug Adventures book would be incredible as well. Highly recommend!
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  • Alanna Medina
    January 1, 1970
    I received this book on Netgalley. All opinions are my own. I enjoyed reading this graphic novel. I love anything involving road trips but this one wasn't anything extraordinary. I definitely laughed at some of the scenes with the dog. The art was okay and the trip itself was kind of boring. I feel like this trip definitely meant more to the author and you could see that through the story but as an outside reader, it was missing something that could make it stand out.
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  • Jaclyn Hillis
    January 1, 1970
    I loved this! It is also a dream of mine to drive Route 66 and camp! Her art was beautiful and I think she really encompassed the main attractions of Route 66, and it makes me even more excited to make the same drive one day.Thank you NetGalley for an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Elia
    January 1, 1970
    A very sweet and adorably illustrated journey across half the country. Just a girl, her dog and her dream of historic route 66. It even has an illustration of one of the statues at my University! YAY! Of course, there are observations here that could only be made by someone experience quintessential "Americana" through the eyes of an immigrant, and the epilogue is actually kind of heartbreaking. A unique look at a slice of life not may will experience.
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  • Sam Rosen
    January 1, 1970
    In Shing Yin Khor's graphic novel, she draws and writes about her personal experience of finding if the American Dream still exists by traveling from LA to Chicago by Route 66. Along the way, the main character details the spots she visits, the people she meets, and her thoughts about being an immigrant traveling Route 66. This novel is a quick read and very enjoyable! The book has a mixture of great narrative, deep thought, and colorful illustrations. I really enjoyed the illustrations and layo In Shing Yin Khor's graphic novel, she draws and writes about her personal experience of finding if the American Dream still exists by traveling from LA to Chicago by Route 66. Along the way, the main character details the spots she visits, the people she meets, and her thoughts about being an immigrant traveling Route 66. This novel is a quick read and very enjoyable! The book has a mixture of great narrative, deep thought, and colorful illustrations. I really enjoyed the illustrations and layout of the book. I would highly recommend this book to anyone interested in traveling route 66. The writing style, in my opinion, speaks to a late teenage/young adult reader.
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  • San
    January 1, 1970
    I was intrigued when I saw Shing Yin Khor’s book about the “American Dream” and, although it was her interpretation of her American Dream, I was absorbed by the illustrations and the promising content.I want to start with the illustrations. I am also an illustrator and an artist myself (although, not very good) so I do appreciate looking at the nicely done watercolor illustrations and visual contents. I especially love the two-page spreads of landscape illustrations of Owl Canyon, AZ, and Blue M I was intrigued when I saw Shing Yin Khor’s book about the “American Dream” and, although it was her interpretation of her American Dream, I was absorbed by the illustrations and the promising content.I want to start with the illustrations. I am also an illustrator and an artist myself (although, not very good) so I do appreciate looking at the nicely done watercolor illustrations and visual contents. I especially love the two-page spreads of landscape illustrations of Owl Canyon, AZ, and Blue Mesa at the Petrified Forest National Park. I love the contrasting color schemes used on the sunset, dusk, the expanse of the landscape, and a few sprinkles of stars in the darkening sky. I liked how she used movements on the paintings to convey people’s (and animals’) expressions and feelings. I like the color scheme overall.In the beginning, the author described how she longed to understand the concept of the American Dream and hoped to achieve this by undertaking a road trip with her dog, along the historic Route 66. To her, the forgotten era of “tacky roadside attractions, and tiny abandoned towns, and little diners and motels” were the characterization of America “more than anything else.” She had lived in Los Angeles for a number of years and wanted to explore the “real America.” She met people, both friends and strangers in different towns and cities, who aided her in her journey with her quest.She liked using peculiar words such as “kitsch” and “outsiderness” and, as another reviewer had stated, the writing style may be more suitable for younger readers. Her attention to detail is apparent, however, it can be improved. For instance, the map of the U.S. did not match her state maps–Chicago is by the water and not landlocked (pp 10-11). I couldn’t actually tell if her dog, Bug was a girl or a boy. She referred to the dog as “she/her” but female dogs don’t normally raise their hind leg to pee 😉In a sense, I somewhat relate to her story. I too am an immigrant to the U.S. but we have two different interpretations of what embodies the American dream.Towards the end, and halfway through her journey, she had become exhausted and “skeptical that the American dream still existed” but remained hopeful of its potential, just like the deserted waterpark she was sitting on at the time. She may have finally realized that her journey had become ineffectual, as I have also felt the same while getting closer to the end of the book. Her last half of the trip (from Texas to Illinois) seemed rushed compared to the beginning, where she spent almost a quarter of her time mostly in Arizona. By the end, she felt unaccomplished by taking the long road trip. I also felt unfulfilled after going through the rest of the book.I think that the title of the book "The American Dream?" depicts its content precisely, in that she was left uncertain of her purpose in taking this journey (hence having a question mark.) I give this book 3.5 (out of 5) stars.I cannot help but compare Khor’s memoir with another recently published book with (almost) the same title, "I Was Their American Dream" by Malika Gharib. I highly recommend Gharib’s book, where she also described her upbringings in a multi-ethnic and multi-religious household and community, and how she had managed to get to where she is now. Read my review to "I Was Their American Dream" on my blog: https://stadeodesign.wordpress.com/20...Image copyright: Shing Yin Khor’s Portfolio, sawdustbear.com. I was provided a free copy of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. #TheAmericanDream #NetGalley
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  • Brooke Lorren
    January 1, 1970
    The American Dream? is a graphic novel that takes readers on a journey through the cities along the historic Route 66, from Los Angeles to Chicago. It's a quick read and there's a lot to like about it.1) The author gives us a look at the different sites that we'd see along the way if we made the journey ourselves. I've driven along the interstate in several of these places, although I've only driven snippets of Route 66 itself. It's interesting to see all the different places that you can see al The American Dream? is a graphic novel that takes readers on a journey through the cities along the historic Route 66, from Los Angeles to Chicago. It's a quick read and there's a lot to like about it.1) The author gives us a look at the different sites that we'd see along the way if we made the journey ourselves. I've driven along the interstate in several of these places, although I've only driven snippets of Route 66 itself. It's interesting to see all the different places that you can see along the route.2) The illustrations are adorable, and seem to bring out the spirit of the different places that she passed. I love the fact that she made this journey with her dog, and he played a small part of the story as well.3) It was interesting seeing this trip from an immigrant's point of view. As an example, she saw a sign that said "American Owned" and thought it was a subtle display of racism. My thought of seeing that sign was "what? Are there foreign countries buying up little shops along Route 66? Is this a problem?" WIthout actually getting to know the people that own that business, it's hard to tell if racism actually came into play or not with putting that on the sign, but it was interesting to see her perspective on the different things you might see along Route 66.I would recommend The American Dream? to upper Middle Grade readers and Young Adults alike. It provides a pretty cool glimpse of this country, and as a graphic novel, is a quick, fun read.
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  • Bookviper
    January 1, 1970
    First off- The illustrations were fantastic. I loved the format of having illustrations and bits of commentary along the journey. The book started off really well; explaining the author's curiosity about a part of Americana that they'd heard of growing up abroad, giving a little history of Route 66, and bits about camping and meeting interesting people along the way. Unfortunately it quickly devolved into canned racism against white Americans. The author hypocritically wants you to feel sorry fo First off- The illustrations were fantastic. I loved the format of having illustrations and bits of commentary along the journey. The book started off really well; explaining the author's curiosity about a part of Americana that they'd heard of growing up abroad, giving a little history of Route 66, and bits about camping and meeting interesting people along the way. Unfortunately it quickly devolved into canned racism against white Americans. The author hypocritically wants you to feel sorry for how there is still evidence of racism in middle America, but at the same time is completely stereotyping all white, mid-westerners as racists. I'm a white, christian, mid-western born and raised male. I also drove parts of Route 66 last year. I also found the 'American Owned' hotel signs disturbing. I also have been through the 'Have you been saved?' freakishness of West Texas. (I now completely avoid West Texas if I can.) These feelings are not exclusively yours because you're brown. These types of people are a small portion of mid-western American life, yet you're using them to represent the whole. The illustrations showing you're feeling of exasperation and rage at this were exactly how I felt reading this book. Just another example of a closed-minded coaster.
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  • Michelle Kidwell
    January 1, 1970
    The American Dream?A Journey on Route 66 Discovering Dinosaur Statues, Muffler Men, and the Perfect Breakfast Burritoby Shing Yin KhorLerner Publishing GroupZest Books ™Comics & Graphic Novels , Teens & YAPub Date 06 Aug 2019I am reviewing a copy of The American Dream through Lerner Publishing Group and Netgalley:In this unique book Shing Yin Khor chronicles her solo journey along the iconic Route 66 written and illustrated in a fun easy to read manner we learn of Shing’s trip.As a child The American Dream?A Journey on Route 66 Discovering Dinosaur Statues, Muffler Men, and the Perfect Breakfast Burritoby Shing Yin KhorLerner Publishing GroupZest Books ™Comics & Graphic Novels , Teens & YAPub Date 06 Aug 2019I am reviewing a copy of The American Dream through Lerner Publishing Group and Netgalley:In this unique book Shing Yin Khor chronicles her solo journey along the iconic Route 66 written and illustrated in a fun easy to read manner we learn of Shing’s trip.As a child growing up in Malaysia Shing had two pictures of America one was the s of Hollywood and it’s glitz and glamor , the other was more of The impoverishment of The Grapes Of Wrath.There were aspects of this books I loved, and aspects that I just really didn’t appreciate, and honestly it seemed to be lacking.I give The American Dream three out of five stars!Happy Reading!
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  • Emily (Obsessed Reader)
    January 1, 1970
    ”My heart has always existed in pieces, between continents and countries and states and borders, and trails I’ve walked and roads I’ve driven. Perhaps that is perfectly acceptable.”I loved going along on the journey across Route 66 and seeing all the fun places the author discovered. I also enjoyed her sharing the people she met and the things she learned. I made notes for a future roadtrip I’d like to take someday. The artwork was really nice in a simple yet interesting way. This was a surprisi ”My heart has always existed in pieces, between continents and countries and states and borders, and trails I’ve walked and roads I’ve driven. Perhaps that is perfectly acceptable.”I loved going along on the journey across Route 66 and seeing all the fun places the author discovered. I also enjoyed her sharing the people she met and the things she learned. I made notes for a future roadtrip I’d like to take someday. The artwork was really nice in a simple yet interesting way. This was a surprisingly personal look into the author’s journey as well, as we see her struggle with finding her place in America as an immigrant. I would love to see more stories like this, especially in graphic novel form. It was different but in a great way.
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  • Michelle
    January 1, 1970
    A fun and thoughtful travel memoir that follows the author, an immigrant and expat, on a road trip across the historic Rt. 66. With her faithful traveling canine companion Bug, the two share their thoughts on the highway's notable landmarks and the people they encounter. "The American Dream?" is a thoughtful look at how the United States was a safer and more welcoming place to travel before the 2016 election. Beautifully drawn and written, The American Dream? is an entertaining look at our count A fun and thoughtful travel memoir that follows the author, an immigrant and expat, on a road trip across the historic Rt. 66. With her faithful traveling canine companion Bug, the two share their thoughts on the highway's notable landmarks and the people they encounter. "The American Dream?" is a thoughtful look at how the United States was a safer and more welcoming place to travel before the 2016 election. Beautifully drawn and written, The American Dream? is an entertaining look at our country's most iconic highway. Thank you to Netgalley and the Publisher for the opportunity to read and review this title. All opinions are my own.
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  • Veronica
    January 1, 1970
    ARC via Netgalley. A thoughtful road trip memoir reflecting on America through the lens of Route 66. The art is simple but colorful and appealing. The author discusses their experiences as an Asian American in passing throughout the narrative but not their nonbinary identity -- not sure if anyone else picked this up expecting a memoir more overtly about being nonbinary but if so, I would recommend Gender Queer by Maia Kobabe instead. That said, The American Dream? is a lovely travelogue and I en ARC via Netgalley. A thoughtful road trip memoir reflecting on America through the lens of Route 66. The art is simple but colorful and appealing. The author discusses their experiences as an Asian American in passing throughout the narrative but not their nonbinary identity -- not sure if anyone else picked this up expecting a memoir more overtly about being nonbinary but if so, I would recommend Gender Queer by Maia Kobabe instead. That said, The American Dream? is a lovely travelogue and I enjoyed it very much.
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  • Allison
    January 1, 1970
    A lovely graphic memoir that's in turns funny, poignant, informative, and thought-provoking. It will certainly appeal to readers who enjoy travel memoirs, especially in graphic novel format, but the narrative goes deeper than mere sightseeing and quirky experiences. As the artist goes on a pilgrimage to see the "real" America on Route 66, she reflects on own identity as an immigrant American. It's fascinating, with a lot to unpack.
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  • Missie
    January 1, 1970
    Thank you for the opportunity to read this book for a fair review. First of all this is a beautiful graphic novel, I thoroughly enjoyed her insight on America and her little fur baby Bug.’s adventures along the way. I have traveled much of Route 66 and the landmarks are so iconic, it is refreshing to see them again through her perspective. I loved this graphic novel! I am going to purchase a hard copy for my library at home. Five full stars!
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  • Pam
    January 1, 1970
    I received an electronic ARC from Lerner Publishing Group through NetGalley.Khor shares her experiences as she travels Route 66 from California to Illinois. Her choice to write a graphic style memoir will pull in teen readers. She bring readers along on the journey and shares snippets of towns and sites she sees. The larger question of finding roots and figuring out where she belongs comes through and is addressed near the end of the book.Humor combined with serious topics.
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  • Sharon
    January 1, 1970
    I love comic books, memoirs, and immigrant narratives, so of course I loved this Malaysian American artist's story of their road trip along Route 66. Shing renders touristy Americana in joyful watercolor, creating something of an actual narrative from a hodgepodge of events, and makes it look easy (it's definitely not). It's especially heartwarming to see all of the love in their life, from the friends and family who help out along the way during their trip.
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  • Tracey
    January 1, 1970
    adult/teen graphic memoir (travelogue, author is incidentally a Malaysian-American immigrant and queer)glimpses of historic route 66 portrayed in watercolor and pencil/ink. Not that revealing (of either the author or the country) but it is an enjoyable little roadtrip journal with some interactions with local folk and some reflections on friends/what home means.
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  • Terra
    January 1, 1970
    This was a super cute, quick read following the author's journey along historic Route 66. It was told via illustrations so you can easily read it in one sitting. I do wish it were a bit longer or included more of the writers thoughts/observations of their journey. I am a huge fan of travel writing so this book was definitely something I would pick up in a bookstore.
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  • Robyn
    January 1, 1970
    I loved this non-fiction look at the historical Route 66, and Shing's quest to discover what it truly means to live the "American Dream". Shing's writing is perfect for this type of non-fiction graphic novel, and their take on America is refreshing and honest. I can't wait to bring this book into my classroom library, and use it in my Young Adult Literature class!
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  • Emmah
    January 1, 1970
    2.5 starsHonestly, this book felt so sterile-y written. I was SO bored. I thought I'd be more entertained by it.The one good thing... The landscape illustrations.
  • Michelle
    January 1, 1970
    Liked this a lot!
  • Angie Moore
    January 1, 1970
    I requested this book because it was a graphic novel, by a BIOC, not knowing much more about the book. I was so surprised to find out that it was not only a Memoir about the author’s journey to discover a sense of self, but that the journey was along the original Route 66! (My family is in the planning stages of a trip next summer!!) Khor tells their story of being an immigrant, a new American citizen, and their personal struggles in a lighthearted way, with great storytelling, and fantastic ill I requested this book because it was a graphic novel, by a BIOC, not knowing much more about the book. I was so surprised to find out that it was not only a Memoir about the author’s journey to discover a sense of self, but that the journey was along the original Route 66! (My family is in the planning stages of a trip next summer!!) Khor tells their story of being an immigrant, a new American citizen, and their personal struggles in a lighthearted way, with great storytelling, and fantastic illustrations. I’ll be adding this to our family library ASAP! Thank you NetGalley for the ARC.
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