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The Sunset Route

Freight Trains, Forgiveness, and Freedom on the Rails in the American West

by Carrot Quinn

The Sunset Route by Carrot Quinn X
The Sunset Route by Carrot Quinn
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  • Mary S. (Bow, NH)
    Interestingly irritating
    Am I glad I read this book? Yes. Did I get irritated while reading it? You betcha. (Shoplifting is not a victimless crime - those of us without a lot of money get to pay the higher prices caused by the store's loss; try telling a family whose daughter is missing that it's safe to strip/dance at dive bars near the oil fields). My irritation aside, the book is well written and the story line holds the reader's attention. I did think the book was more interesting once we moved past her childhood. Although it is important for these stories to be written, I thought the author dipped into familiar tropes when writing about her mentally ill mother.

    I also kept wondering how different the author's life would be if she were a person of color. As a white woman who lives in a predominantly white state, I can only guess what would have happened but I highly doubt that the author would have gotten away with warnings instead of tickets, time served instead of more jail time, not being arrested for shoplifting...the list goes on. Again, I am glad I read this book not only for the story it told but how it made me think about my life and the lives of others.
  • Elise B. (Macedonia, OH)
    The Sunset Route
    The Sunset Route, by Carrot Quinn, will undoubtedly be compared to Educated, The Glass Castle and Hillbilly Elegy. Carrot is abused and neglected by her schizophrenic mother, has a father who has given up all parental rights, and has very cold and abusive grandparents. Her saviors, in her memoir, are her friends and strangers. Each friend she meets in the various school systems she attends, and through her travels, give her the love and friendship severely lacking in her family. Strangers even offer her meals, rides and places to stay.
    I didn't realize rail traveling was still done and now I'm going to be looking for cars that people could ride on now when I see trains! Carrot was still able to see the beauty in her surroundings and this comes through so well in her writing. I really wanted to see more closure at the end, but found the last few pages to be very profound. I will be writing some of Carrot's final thoughts down for my own reference. I am following her on Instagram now to see what her future holds.
  • Norma R. (Secaucus, NJ)
    The Sunset Route
    The Sunset Route: Freight Trains, Forgiveness, and Freedom on the Rails in the American West

    The subtitle of this memoir is an accurate description, it tells you what to expect when reading this memoir. The memoir flips back forth between the author's childhood and her life as a young adult. The author, Carrot Quinn, tells her story of a harrowing childhood. She is raised by her schizophrenic mother and experiences terrible hunger. She leaves home and travels the country be freight train, which is quite dangerous. She is trying to escape her awful childhood and find happiness and love. Carrot takes pleasure in the natural world and it heals her. And she uses the physical challenges of her lifestyle to move beyond her past. Her story is captivating and I enjoyed the book.
  • Janet R. (Visalia, CA)
    Trains and self discovery
    When I received this book for "First Impressions", I was disappointed by the sub title, "Freight Trains, Forgiveness and Freedom on the Rails in the American West" I had a vision of a slow, plodding narrative filled with the word "I". I was delighted to find that the book is well paced and very interesting. I learned about "riding the rails" from Carrot Quinn and about her search for explanations about why her schizophrenic mother was sick and how Carrot could find her again after years of absence. Carrot Quinn shared her life with a variety of people and could never quite conquer her loneliness. This book is an excellent read. I would recommend it to anyone who enjoyed, "The Sound of Gravel" and "Educated". The book would be an excellent choice for a book club. Happy reading!
  • Karen S. (Allston, MA)
    An engaging memoir with honesty, but a few guardrails. guardrails
    I typically like memoirs, and it is tough to be critical as the authors are writing their own story. Carrot's story has some unique elements, as she is a current day version of the romanticized freight train riders of years past. Her writing is engaging, and she makes the scenes visible to me , though I cannot "feel" them as I do in the best memoirs. I was left with questions about the years living with her grandparents and the development of her writing interest and talent. Just how did she get from all the early trauma to her current state? It took more than dangerous trips on freight trains and the few sister/fellow travelers she introduces.
    Comparisons to "Educated", "Wild" and other recent memoirs came to mind as I read this.
  • Mary F. (Lewes, DE)
    The Sunset Route by Carrot Quinn
    Like a jigsaw puzzle, the chapter pieces fall into place as Carrot Quinn slowly develops over the years from a victim of a tragic childhood into a strong, independent female. The memoir creates word photos of her experiences which often leave the reader smelling the herbs, hating the taste of a can of cold beans, or the grime of hobo travel on the rails. Quinn's adventures build her character, values, and the love of Nature with it's ability to restore peace in a troubled soul. I will be introducing this book to my Book Club as the themes promote discussions worth exploring. The story leaves you rooting for Carrot and her quest and it keeps you wondering what comes next…
  • Sandi W. (East Moline, IL)
    Carrot Quinn was running...
    3.5 stars Thank you to BookBrowse for giving me this book to read and review. Published on July 6, 2021.

    Carrot Quinn was running. Maybe not running from, but trying to run to.

    Carrot - born Jenni - had a miserable childhood. A schizophrenic mother, a brother raised apart from her, and grandparents who were cold and unloving. In her early teens Carrot had had enough. She took to the rails. She spent her next eight or so years mostly living on other peoples couches, eating from dumpsters, and hiding in tree lines waiting for the next train to take her to where she thought she needed to go. Carrot saw a lot of the US and felt the freedom of confinement, but she also felt loss. The loss of a mother, the loss of family, the loss of a home. She was always searching. Those losses stayed with her.

    This is a raw exposure of a memoir, offset by the beauty of both nature and mankind, as seen by one young woman trying to outrun her troubles. The life of Carrot Quinn has been one of heartbreak wrapped in self discovery.

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