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Novel of a USA road trip

6th October 2020

Boop and Eve’s Road Trip by Mary Helen Sheriff, novel of a USA road trip (set across Southern States USA)

Novel of a USA road trip

Eve is a teenager at college. Her mother Justine has high hopes for her for future, she is pulling all kinds of strings to get her into medical college. But Eve’s passion is fashion and she is struggling with her mother’s determination and her own desires. Boop, Justine’s mother (and thus Eve’s grandmother) can see how much the young woman is struggling. Eve indeed is going through the motions but not really engaging with life and friends. All the rawness of youth is palpable.

Boop takes Eve under her wing and suggests a road trip to visit her sister Aunt Victoria in Savannah and so it is in the late Spring they both head out in Boop’s older car from Florida. Eve, in turn, wants to catch up with her cousin Ally, who has gone off grid and Eve is incredibly worried about her. Could she be at the Beach House? After their visit to Aunt Victoria they head off to see if they can find Ally. There is also the mystery of Davey, who is he and why does Boop feel such a pull?

This is as much a story about family dynamics as is about a road trip. Victoria and Justine in particular have their own agendas that make them appear quite callous at times, brusque and uncaring at others. Eve’s adolescent aloofness is well portrayed.

As a UK English reader I did have a little difficulty engaging with a grandmother called Boop 😉! It’s the kind of nickname you might give to a child or a pet in the UK. Although in truth the grandmother’s real name is Betty and thus Boop seems a natural progression on the name front (as in Betty Boop). The UK audience for this novel will, I think, be very specific: the author is American and much of the writing is heavily accented in US English; some of the concepts/phrases went over my head and occasionally I struggled to get the gist.

All in all a thoughtful and poignant coming of age read that offers an insight into US culture, thinking and family life. And offers an ultimate optimism that people do have the capacity for change.

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Short story, travelogue, or memoir

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