Diane W. (Lake Villa, IL)
I imagined myself with my Ex!
As someone who experienced some not so stellar trips with my ex-husband, I imagined myself on this road with the characters! I, too, always found that humor is what saved me from a completely awful experience. Because I have never traveled outside of the US, I was hoping for more details about the countries themselves --- I guess a bit more of a travelogue to imagine the actual journey they took. And, the car sickness hit a bit too close to home for me who has suffered from it since childhood! All in all, though, an enjoyable read --- different and fun.
Darlyne F. (Hunter, ND)
Peking to Paris
I found this book to be very boring. I got tired of reading about her car sickness and so on. I'm sure people who are interested in cars and car rallies would enjoy reading the book.
Nona F. (Evanston, IL)
Charming writing but lightweight travel narrative
As someone who found herself driving the wrong direction against 3 lanes of traffic in Italy, and who almost tossed the rented GPS unit out the window in France after it tried to lead us onto another boring backroad, I can only admire Dina Bennett's decision to act as her husband's navigator on the 2007 commemorative Peking to Paris rally in a vintage 1940 LaSalle Coupe, particularly as she claims to have no sense of direction and gets carsick reading a map in a moving car. This is not the bohemian rebellion of Jack Kerouac on the road or John Steinbeck's philosophical musings with Charley; it's a somewhat lightweight but charmingly related adventure travel tale, at its best when focusing on the relationship between Dina and her husband Bernard. Don't expect to learn much about the exotic places the rally passes through-- the rally is all about the car, not its context. When the narrative brings in the other contestants, I can't help but think that these are people who have too much money and too much free time on their hands who've chosen to go on the 35-day package tour from hell. I like Bennett's writing style, but would be more interested in reading about her subsequent adventure travels where she and her husband went where they wanted to go and at their own pace without having to nurse a vintage car—the details of car maintenance and repair don't interest me.
Marion T. (Palatine, IL)
Peking to Paris
Unfortunately I was a little disappointed in the writing of this book. I was looking forward to living through the author a trip I would never take to places that I would never see. However she spent more time about the repairs of the car then the places she was traveling through. In spite of the short time that was spent in these places and the long hours in the car, a little description of the places, people, or even stories of the people on the rally would have added to much. Also, where are the pictures? Not even one of the wonderful Roxanne? What were you thinking?
Editor's Note: The copies of Peking to Paris provided to BookBrowse's members, including Marion, to review were advanced reading copies (ARCs), produced some months ahead of the finished book. Usually ARCs will not have the "finishing touches' that the published book will have such as pictures and maps - both of which are to be found in the published copies of Peking to Paris.
Judith G. (Ewa Beach, HI)
My vicarious first rally
Finding a couple with such opposite yet complementary personas....I was immediately hooked. So many times I laughed seeing my husband and myself in the same situations. A marvelous, descriptive guide to places in the world I won't see anytime soon. Car talk vs ballet. I know that scenario. This book delighted me and I was sorry to get to the end. Knowing Dina Bennett is still writing and traveling makes me eager to read her next blog or book. I'm insisting my husband read the book even knowing he's NOT a reader...but he does fix cars when necessary.
Joan (Miller Place, NY)
Bumpy ride ahead
From the description I really expected to love this book and thought it would deserve a five; sadly I can only give it a three. The author says a trip should not be "All about the driving and not about the journey." Unfortunately this book was the reverse, she wrote mostly about the car breaking down and not enough about the countries they drove through. The last leg of the journey felt very rushed. She concentrated more on the hardships than the joys. The first part of the book contains a lot of details about readying the car for the rally; it became boring and too technical. The best parts were the descriptions of the places and people that the couple encountered. Ms. Bennett's descriptions were excellent and you felt as if you were on the journey with them. I cannot stress enough that a map of the route and some pictures should be included. The map need not be too detailed, but the readers should be shown the rally route. A picture of "Roxanne" is a must! I would not recommend this for a book club, but it is a nice book for the "arm chair traveler."
Editor's Note: The copies of Peking to Paris provided to BookBrowse's members to review were advanced reading copies (ARCs), produced some months ahead of the finished book. Usually ARCs will not have the "finishing touches' that the published book will have such as pictures and maps - both of which are to be found in the published copies of Peking to Paris.
Deb Y. (Blanco, TX)
Just a short junket
I do so wish I had the nerve to do what Dina Bennett did when she went from Paris to Peking as the navigator for a road race with her husband......she and I would be good friends, I think, as we have one foot in the "want-to" and the other foot in "oh, no - I can't do that." What an adventure for all involved! To say more would be a major spoiler, but please read the book - it's definitely more than a travelogue!