Berman, Marilyn. Traveling the Two-Lane: a Memoir and Travelogue. BookLogix. 2015. $15.95. 261 pages. Paperback. ISBN 978-1-61005-558-1.
Even those who find detailed travelogues tedious at the best of times will be charmed and delighted by this author’s life-changing journey, during which we also learn that there is much to cherish in our nation’s geographical breadth and richness. And we accompany a remarkable woman on an equally significant sojourn—within herself.
Beginning in 2004, Berman, a longtime Atlanta resident in her early sixties, embarks on a year-long solo van trek, destination Alaska. Her travels take her through Canada, New England, the East Coast, and the Southwest, focusing often on rustic campgrounds in smaller cities.
Berman makes friends and finds topographical and aesthetic bounty abounding, and her descriptions are vivid and lyrical. She reminds us that we need not solely rely on America’s mega-cities for inspiration and excitement: beauty and entertainment are in fact everywhere, in locales large and small, free for the partaking.
The author also takes us on a fascinating interior journey—-her own, as a lesbian coming of age in the 1950s and ‘60s. She skillfully segues to flashback recollections of her life at that time, including her relationship with her parents, to whom she would never reveal her sexuality. She seamlessly integrates those early memories with her present-day wonderment at the world of “two-lane back roads” around her. We fortunate readers meet a thoughtful, adventurous woman worth knowing.
This book is highly recommended for travel, general memoir, and especially LGBT autobiography collections. Marilyn Berman brings us wonderful prose poetry inspired by the unlikeliest places.
Dallas (TX) Public Library