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.