book response: The Kindness of Strangers by McIntyre (1996)

Sometimes readers who spend too much time learning about genocides need a break with something light, humorous, quick but also well-written. Mike McIntyre's travelogue fits the bill. In fact, the bill was even better because it was on the Kindle's free list, though not anymore, sorry. This isn't the meatier cross country travelogue like Steinbeck's, but an enjoyable one nevertheless. McIntyre is a journalist, a profession that usually delivers good writing, and he doesn't fail to deliver. He has a mid-life crisis near 40, and decides to hitchhike across the country from San Francisco to Cape Fear, NC without a penny (or plastic or cell phone) in his pocket. It's in flyover country that he meets his most interesting and generous patrons. This Christian blogger was fascinated with his repeated encounters with born again Christians who kept trying to ensure he was on his way to heaven by believing in Jesus. Those weren't the only people he met, but there were so many I started to wonder if he was going to have a conversion story by the end. On the other hand, his observations of people tended toward the carnal at times as well, as faithful Christians were not the only generous people who crossed his path. Some of his patrons were rascals or even criminals, yet still kind to him. As he shared his story, people felt safe to share theirs with him, and some even invited him into their homes and lives, entwining their stories wit his for a day or two. Some stories are tragic and some are delightful, but you will laugh much more than notice a tear in the corner of your eye.


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