A former English teacher turned farmer, Cliff, recently divorced from his wife of over 40 years and now homeless due to a shrewd move his real-estate ex-wife made has decided to tour the country on a journey to rename all 50 states and state birds.
Armed with a childhood jigsaw puzzle of the states, he leaves Michigan and begins his quest. His first stop is to meet up with a former student of his where he begins an affair that threatens his sanity and the health of his body at the hands of sex-crazed and cell phone addicted Marybelle.
When Marybelle’s manipulations become to much for him he drops her off with her husband in Montana and heads to California for a visit with his son Robert. Along the way he learns a little about himself as well as the scenery of the states in the process.
After a few of the emotionally disturbing books I had been reading lately I thought this book sounded like an easy summer road trip. While it was easy enough to read and the language (country bumpkin hick adages) was fun, I did not feel connected at all with the story. I grew bored with the ramblings of Cliff and his sexual exploits. I came to view the author as a “dirty old man” since everything that Cliff did reminded him of sex. Even stopping at a place called Notch Bottom was enough to stir him sexually.
I was hoping Cliff would come to a conclusion about his new lot in life and be transformed but that didn’t seem to happen. I was disappointed in the storyline and the lack of a life altering event.
Are there any Jim Harrison fans out there who disagree with me on this one? Please let me know.