Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Book # 4 - The Wayward Bus

It was a little difficult to read through John Steinbeck in one day but I somehow pulled it off . It took a three hour marathon session in the night but it was worth it!

Steinbeck is a smooth operator. He slowly sucks you into his book and with every page you turn, you get immersed into the fictional world created by him. You make images of the characters in your mind. You start rooting for some characters while disliking others. His writings are not just words, they are actual sketches and it feels like one is watching a motion picture and not reading a book. I experienced the same feeling when I read 'East of Eden' and this book didn't disappoint me either.

'The Wayward Bus' is a story revolving around a group of tourists on their way from San Ysidro             (California) to Los Angeles. There journey is full of great drama from the start when their bus breaks down on day one and they have to spend the night at the bus driver's place. The bus driver, Juan Chicoy, is a Mexican American who not only drives the bus but also has a gas station and a small restaurant which he runs with his wife Alice.

The most interesting thing about this bus ride is the assortment of the travelers. It is said that traveling brings out the true personality of people. This book is proof of that. Whether it is the old man who creates a fuss and declares that the bus will not reach its destination because of the rain or the young girl who ends up sleeping with Juan Chicoy, or the tramp who hides her true identity or the waitress who quits her job at Chicoy's restaurant and decides to take the bus also; everyone is on an edge, collectively and personally. And it is this edginess which Steinbeck captures beautifully and shows the real personality of each character in a span of only one day's journey.

This book was a crash course in understanding jealousy, vanity, insecurity, greed, power, sex and marriage. My favorite book in this project so far.

Photograph by the author (which of course does not mean Steinbeck). And yes, that is a MINI.