Like most people getting ready to graduate high school, Angela struggles with who she is and what she wants. She’s a normal girl who’s had relatively normal experiences for those who sit on the outskirts of the high school social norms. She’s horrified by the thought of being trapped in the mundane—doing well, but never quite reaching the stratosphere. Unlike most of her peers, she’s intent on doing something about it: namely a months-long road trip throughout the United States and Canada to determine what she’s made of. Crashing with friends, some of whom turn out to be foes, and occasionally in her car, she’s tested at every turn by fear, by her struggle to determine who she is and what she wants, and by the unthinkable.
ONCE UPON A ROAD TRIP doesn’t read like a typical memoir. Written in third person, it’s far more like reading a novel. It is only with the inclusion of parts of her travel journal interspersed throughout the narrative that the reader catches a glimpse of the internal aspects of Angela’s journey of self-discovery. Author Angela Blount’s decision to structure her memoir in the way she did is a large part of its charm. The variation allows the reader to experience the story without the intrusion of the author’s internal musings and to make their own determinations of what they think and feel about the goings on before the author inserts her own. Though it could have been more powerful had she provided a more in-depth analysis of her reactions to the events she found herself embroiled in; Blount’s voice is solid and true, and will only strengthen as she continues her life’s journey.
Though the author tends to skirt around the bigger issues, staying a safe emotional distance away, ONCE UPON A ROAD TRIP is a powerful story of self-discovery.
Reviewed by K.J. Pierce for IndieReader