BOOK: ‘Road Trip’ good story for dog lovers, optimistsOnly one thing is going well in Ben’s life. He and his dad are taking a road trip to pick up a Border collie puppy from a rescue shelter. Everything else is falling apart.
By: Jean Patrick, Republic Book Columnist
Only one thing is going well in Ben’s life. He and his dad are taking a road trip to pick up a Border collie puppy from a rescue shelter. Everything else is falling apart.
“Road Trip,” by Jim and Gary Paulson, begins with the bad. They leave at 5:17 a.m. without packing. Then Dad drops the bomb shell that he quit his job. Then Dad explains that there might not be enough money for Ben to go to hockey camp — even though Ben kept his grades up.
And then the passengers start accumulating — which isn’t all bad.
First, Ben invites his friend, Theo (a senior with a shaved head and an eyebrow piercing). Next, they acquire Gus (a mechanic) and a school bus. At the next stop, they pick up Mia, a waitress/bouncer who has just quit her job.
There’s also one more “person” in the school bus. Atticus. He’s the 15-year-old Border collie who has been part of Ben’s family since before Ben was born.
As expected, the road trip involves a series of unexpected events, including a drag race between a state trooper (driving the school bus) and Ben’s dad (driving the cruiser).
By the end, they reach the rescue shelter, but not without another unexpected twist.
Although “Road Trip” begins with a pile of negatives, it ends up better than Ben could have possibly imagined. His circle of friends has expanded, and he has new faith that “everything does work out.”
The story’s appeal is boosted by the dogs. Atticus stares through the windshield “as if he’s responsible for memorizing the route.” He even writes a couple of the chapters, using the serious precision that only a mindful Border collie could provide.
“Road Trip” will touch the hearts of dog lovers and optimists everywhere. Even the back story is great. Author Gary Paulsen wrote the book with another dog lover — his grown son, Jim.
“Road Trip.” By Jim and Gary Paulsen. Random House/Wendy Lamb Books. 2013. 128 pp.