Since I’m a little behind schedule getting through this one, I’m posting questions this morning and I’ll add my answers tonight. If I’m honest, reading this one has been a bit of a mixed experience. There are parts I’ve really enjoyed, but also a few parts that I’ve found pretty boring (the history of how wagons were built, anyone?). Hopefully you’ve all found at least some parts enjoyable too! I guess I’ll find out, because here are our questions for the first half of the book:1. What made you want to pick up this book?
I wanted to pick this book up because I’d heard good things about it, but it definitely appealed to me more because of my nostalgia for the Oregon Trail games! I have to admit that I hadn’t even really read the description, so I was surprised that it was a stunt memoir and not just a history. I also have to admit I mostly added this question to see if anyone else was excited about the book because of the games 🙂
2. If you ever decided to write a stunt memoir like this, what sort of stunt might you write about?
I would probably want to do something like Patty Chang Anker’s Some Nerve (trying to be braver), Gretchen Rubin’s The Happiness Project, or Rachel Bertsche’s MWF Seeking BFF (proactively looking for friends). I’m more excited about trying to improve myself and my life than I am about adventure. I’d also love to do a photography project, to get better at that. And if I could come up with a way to make a reading project as interesting as A.J. Jacobs’, I’d consider that too!
3. Would you ever want to repeat the author’s trip?
No way! It sounds uncomfortable and not very rewarding to me. I’m all travelling and seeing nature, but I’m OK with those being two separate activities so that I can travel more than 30 miles in a day.
4. If you did repeat this journey, are there any non-essentials you think you’d try to bring, like the author’s shoe polish, bocce balls, and salad spinner?
Books, for sure! But probably my kindle. I really couldn’t believe how impractical his choices were. If I had to repeat his trip, I’d research extensively and make sure I had only the best, most essential equipment. Except for my kindle, which I really wouldn’t be willing to give up!
5. How are you enjoying the book so far?
Honestly, it’s been hit or miss for me. I really didn’t ever need to know as much about how wagons were built as I know now. I’m not completely interested in his family history or how every aspect of the Oregon Trail apparently encapsulates everything in America history (seems hyperbolic to me). But some of the stories about individual people who originally travelled the trail were fascinating. His own adventures with mules were pretty gripping too! The writing is also a mixed bag. I don’t have a problem with authors who write conversationally and swear a bit, but the way this author jumps between that style and more formal writing pulls me out of the story.