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The American Dream? a Journey on Route 66 Discovering Dinosaur Statues, Muffler Man, and the Perfect Breakfast Burrito: a Graphic Memoir

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As a child growing up in Malaysia, Shing Yin Khor had two very different ideas of what “America” meant. The first looked a lot like Hollywood, full of beautiful people and sunlight and freeways. The second looked more like The Grapes of Wrath - a nightmare landscape filled with impoverished people, broken-down cars, barren landscapes, and broken dreams. Those contrasting i As a child growing up in Malaysia, Shing Yin Khor had two very different ideas of what “America” meant. The first looked a lot like Hollywood, full of beautiful people and sunlight and freeways. The second looked more like The Grapes of Wrath - a nightmare landscape filled with impoverished people, broken-down cars, barren landscapes, and broken dreams. Those contrasting ideas have stuck with Shing ever since, even now that she lives and works in LA. How to Poop in Nature is Shing’s attempt to find what she can of both of these Americas on a solo journey (small adventure-dog included) across the entire expanse of that iconic road, beginning in Santa Monica and ending up Chicago. And what begins as a road trip ends up as something more like a pilgrimage in search of an American landscape that seems forever shifting, forever out of place.


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As a child growing up in Malaysia, Shing Yin Khor had two very different ideas of what “America” meant. The first looked a lot like Hollywood, full of beautiful people and sunlight and freeways. The second looked more like The Grapes of Wrath - a nightmare landscape filled with impoverished people, broken-down cars, barren landscapes, and broken dreams. Those contrasting i As a child growing up in Malaysia, Shing Yin Khor had two very different ideas of what “America” meant. The first looked a lot like Hollywood, full of beautiful people and sunlight and freeways. The second looked more like The Grapes of Wrath - a nightmare landscape filled with impoverished people, broken-down cars, barren landscapes, and broken dreams. Those contrasting ideas have stuck with Shing ever since, even now that she lives and works in LA. How to Poop in Nature is Shing’s attempt to find what she can of both of these Americas on a solo journey (small adventure-dog included) across the entire expanse of that iconic road, beginning in Santa Monica and ending up Chicago. And what begins as a road trip ends up as something more like a pilgrimage in search of an American landscape that seems forever shifting, forever out of place.

30 review for The American Dream? a Journey on Route 66 Discovering Dinosaur Statues, Muffler Man, and the Perfect Breakfast Burrito: a Graphic Memoir

  1. 5 out of 5

    Chad

    A graphic memoir of a trip along the iconic Route 66 through the eyes of an immigrant and her dog. Shing is an artist obsessed with Americana, travelling the byways of a more innocent time in America before the Interstates pushed through our country making the highways and the towns along them obsolete. I think my favorite moments were when she explored the many ghost towns and abandoned shops along the way. You can tell the long trip (especially since she roughed it by sleeping in her car or ca A graphic memoir of a trip along the iconic Route 66 through the eyes of an immigrant and her dog. Shing is an artist obsessed with Americana, travelling the byways of a more innocent time in America before the Interstates pushed through our country making the highways and the towns along them obsolete. I think my favorite moments were when she explored the many ghost towns and abandoned shops along the way. You can tell the long trip (especially since she roughed it by sleeping in her car or camping) wears on her towards the end as later states are glossed over even though Missouri and Illinois are two of the states she spent the longest time in. the art is somewhat rudimentary but the water colors are very nice, especially in landscape scenes. Received a review copy from Zest Books and NetGalley. All thoughts are my own and in no way influenced by the aforementioned.

  2. 4 out of 5

    David Schaafsma

    This comics memoir is about Shing Yin Khor’s travel across the country via the iconic American highway, in search for the True America through ghost towns and goofy kitschy Americana such as dinosaur parks. They are Malaysian-American, living and loving it in Los Angeles, but they also have firmly implanted in their brain the cruel dustbowl narrative, The Grapes of Wrath. Inequity is as American as apple pie, and they know it, but they want to see more of the country themselves. Route This comics memoir is about Shing Yin Khor’s travel across the country via the iconic American highway, in search for the True America through ghost towns and goofy kitschy Americana such as dinosaur parks. They are Malaysian-American, living and loving it in Los Angeles, but they also have firmly implanted in their brain the cruel dustbowl narrative, The Grapes of Wrath. Inequity is as American as apple pie, and they know it, but they want to see more of the country themselves. Route 66 runs from Chicago to Santa Monica; since I live in Chicago, I was hoping they spent more time in their story around here, but they seem to have run out of steam (or money), so while the art is colorful and bright and inviting, the story is pretty slim. Lots of drawings of random motel signs, and not much deep reflection, finally. But worth checking out, I’ll say. “I get my Kicks on Route 66,: Nat King Cole: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dCYAp...

  3. 5 out of 5

    Laura

    I love looking at new things, through eyes that are not mine, and what better way to look at American than through the eyes of someone who was not originally from America. Though the author has been living in Los Angeles for a number of years, she wants to see the real America, and so decides to take a trip on Route 66. Back before President Eisenhower created the interstate highway system, those roads that all start with Interstate and an even or odd number, depending on the direction they are going, r I love looking at new things, through eyes that are not mine, and what better way to look at American than through the eyes of someone who was not originally from America. Though the author has been living in Los Angeles for a number of years, she wants to see the real America, and so decides to take a trip on Route 66. Back before President Eisenhower created the interstate highway system, those roads that all start with Interstate and an even or odd number, depending on the direction they are going, roads were two lanes, and meandered across the country. Most are gone now, replaced by the Interstate highways, no longer needed. But Route 66 was the one, as the song says, that stretched from Chicago to L.A. It was one of the longest of the early roads, and it was the one that was heavily used. And though it is gone, offically, it lives on and is maintained, and people from around the world can be found traveling it to see if they can find the old America. And so Shing sets out to drive it, and this is her story. It is intersting, and funny and sad, and all those things you want from a road trip. She meets people along the way, and wild donkeys, and other features of the road. It is a fun trip, and beautifully illustrated. Thanks to Netgalley for making this book available for an honest review.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Maia

    I have been a fan of Shing Yin Khor's art for years, and I was so excited when this book was announced! Along with their adorable rescue dog, Bug, Shing sets out to drive the complete historic Route 66 from Los Angeles to Chicago. Along the way they chat with rangers, bikers, tourists, and the shop and cafe owners that are keeping pieces of American history alive. Shing's voice is warm, personal, and curious. The pages are painted in gorgeous full-color watercolors. The remains of blueline penci I have been a fan of Shing Yin Khor's art for years, and I was so excited when this book was announced! Along with their adorable rescue dog, Bug, Shing sets out to drive the complete historic Route 66 from Los Angeles to Chicago. Along the way they chat with rangers, bikers, tourists, and the shop and cafe owners that are keeping pieces of American history alive. Shing's voice is warm, personal, and curious. The pages are painted in gorgeous full-color watercolors. The remains of blueline pencil under the finished artwork give the whole book the immediate and intimate feeling of a travel journal. Thoughts on being an immigrant and searching for a homeland are woven through the portraits of kitschy roadside attractions. This book is a quick and highly recommended read.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Steff Pasciuti

    I have to admit, I'm not really all that invested in Route 66 past its influence on the movie Cars, which I have loved since the first time I ever saw it. My interest in Shing Yin Khor's The American Dream? came more from the fact that it was a road trip story about a young immigrant truly interested in the history of the route. That, in and of itself, is kind of fascinating. And Khor didn't disappoint, both with the wonderfully eye-catching artwork (which includes their absolutely adorable dog called Bug) and a very engagingKhor's Themovie , I have to admit, I'm not really all that invested in Route 66 past its influence on the movie Cars, which I have loved since the first time I ever saw it. My interest in Shing Yin Khor's The American Dream? came more from the fact that it was a road trip story about a young immigrant truly interested in the history of the route. That, in and of itself, is kind of fascinating. And Khor didn't disappoint, both with the wonderfully eye-catching artwork (which includes their absolutely adorable dog called Bug) and a very engaging story. And though I wouldn't ordinarily be much interested in much about Route 66 and what exists alongside it or the American dream, which a large part of me believes is pretty much dead or as close to dead as it could be without being so, I did have a really good time reading it. I learned a lot about the history of Route 66 while reading this book and I won't say that it left any kind of lasting effect on me, in fact, I don't even remember the majority of it off the top of my head. But there's something amazing about places that really bring out a lot of passion within a person. And you can feel Shing Yin Khor's passion seeping from every single page within this graphic novel. And I didn't just learn about the route, but I learned about the people on it. I learned about the experiences they had as a result of being an immigrant--or basically, just not being white--and it was insightfully eye-opening. I do find it quite depressing that the experience Khor had would probably be a little harder to have now, as this trip was taken before the racists took over the country and Trump was elected President. But I am glad to know that Khor had the chance to complete this trip and I am glad to have gotten a chance to read her work. There's a lot of amazing and worthwhile things in this novel and I definitely feel as though I left reading this book with something better than what I came into it. And I think this could be a great read for many other people, too. I was provided a free copy of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. | Twitter | Reader Fox Blog | Instagram |

  6. 5 out of 5

    Laura

    A fascinating exploration of and reflection on a pivotal piece of American history. I adore Shing's work, and this one shines. Emotional, funny, warm. Great art, love the colors. Bug arguably the best part.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Cortney

    “After growing up abroad, and having traveled broadly around the world, the culture that has seemed the most foreign to me is still this homegrown Americana, with its large trucks, nostalgia, and hometown pride.” I picked up this graphic memoir because I have a thing for memoirs about traveling and I have been interested in Route 66 ever since I watched CARS; and to my delight the movie is mentioned in this book. Shing Yin Khor is a non-binary immigrant who takes a road tri “After growing up abroad, and having traveled broadly around the world, the culture that has seemed the most foreign to me is still this homegrown Americana, with its large trucks, nostalgia, and hometown pride.” I picked up this graphic memoir because I have a thing for memoirs about traveling and I have been interested in Route 66 ever since I watched CARS; and to my delight the movie is mentioned in this book. Shing Yin Khor is a non-binary immigrant who takes a road trip on Route 66 to see what “being American” is all about and they meet some interesting people along the way. They have a good sense of humor so I found myself smiling while reading The American Dream. Their time in Texas was definitely entertaining. Khor met up with a lot of friends while on the road so it was half roughing it/sightseeing and half visiting with friends. I would say this book is a good pick me up if you’re interested in a light read about Route 66.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Jill Kenna

    This was a fantastic book about a woman and her dog traveling on Route 66. I absolutely adored the artwork. It was a gorgeous water color style that really helped capture the feeling of traveling alone and kind of melancholy that can creep in sometimes. I also really loved all the weird and interesting landmarks that she stopped at and all of her friends that made appearances in the book. I really couldn't find anything that I didn't like about this book. This type of cross country drive is some This was a fantastic book about a woman and her dog traveling on Route 66. I absolutely adored the artwork. It was a gorgeous water color style that really helped capture the feeling of traveling alone and kind of melancholy that can creep in sometimes. I also really loved all the weird and interesting landmarks that she stopped at and all of her friends that made appearances in the book. I really couldn't find anything that I didn't like about this book. This type of cross country drive is something that I have wanted to do as well so it was nice to see someone else do it. There were some good tips for camping in your car as well. I would highly recommend this to anyone who is a fan of travel log or road trip books. Thank you to NetGalley for the free review copy.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Holly

    Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for an advanced look at this incredible book! I'm a long time fan of Shing Yin Khor's work, and I was so excited to see The American Dream? available on NetGalley! The book is absolutely beautiful, and very thoughtful. I maintain that a Bug Adventures book would be incredible as well. Highly recommend!

  10. 5 out of 5

    Frances

    I really liked this one - thoughtfully written and beautifully illustrated with art that ranges from cute to lovely. Appreciated the ruminations on road trips and travel writing, as well as the commentary on what was seen along the way.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Alanna Medina

    I received this book on Netgalley. All opinions are my own. I enjoyed reading this graphic novel. I love anything involving road trips but this one wasn't anything extraordinary. I definitely laughed at some of the scenes with the dog. The art was okay and the trip itself was kind of boring. I feel like this trip definitely meant more to the author and you could see that through the story but as an outside reader, it was missing something that could make it stand out.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Jaclyn Hillis

    I loved this! It is also a dream of mine to drive Route 66 and camp! Her art was beautiful and I think she really encompassed the main attractions of Route 66, and it makes me even more excited to make the same drive one day. Thank you NetGalley for an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Elia

    A very sweet and adorably illustrated journey across half the country. Just a girl, her dog and her dream of historic route 66. It even has an illustration of one of the statues at my University! YAY! Of course, there are observations here that could only be made by someone experience quintessential "Americana" through the eyes of an immigrant, and the epilogue is actually kind of heartbreaking. A unique look at a slice of life not may will experience.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Sam Rosen

    In Shing Yin Khor's graphic novel, she draws and writes about her personal experience of finding if the American Dream still exists by traveling from LA to Chicago by Route 66. Along the way, the main character details the spots she visits, the people she meets, and her thoughts about being an immigrant traveling Route 66. This novel is a quick read and very enjoyable! The book has a mixture of great narrative, deep thought, and colorful illustrations. I really enjoyed the illustrations and layo In Shing Yin Khor's graphic novel, she draws and writes about her personal experience of finding if the American Dream still exists by traveling from LA to Chicago by Route 66. Along the way, the main character details the spots she visits, the people she meets, and her thoughts about being an immigrant traveling Route 66. This novel is a quick read and very enjoyable! The book has a mixture of great narrative, deep thought, and colorful illustrations. I really enjoyed the illustrations and layout of the book. I would highly recommend this book to anyone interested in traveling route 66. The writing style, in my opinion, speaks to a late teenage/young adult reader.

  15. 4 out of 5

    San

    I was intrigued when I saw Shing Yin Khor’s book about the “American Dream” and, although it was her interpretation of her American Dream, I was absorbed by the illustrations and the promising content. I want to start with the illustrations. I am also an illustrator and an artist myself (although, not very good) so I do appreciate looking at the nicely done watercolor illustrations and visual contents. I especially love the two-page spreads of landscape illustrations of Owl Canyon, AZ I was intrigued when I saw Shing Yin Khor’s book about the “American Dream” and, although it was her interpretation of her American Dream, I was absorbed by the illustrations and the promising content. I want to start with the illustrations. I am also an illustrator and an artist myself (although, not very good) so I do appreciate looking at the nicely done watercolor illustrations and visual contents. I especially love the two-page spreads of landscape illustrations of Owl Canyon, AZ, and Blue Mesa at the Petrified Forest National Park. I love the contrasting color schemes used on the sunset, dusk, the expanse of the landscape, and a few sprinkles of stars in the darkening sky. I liked how she used movements on the paintings to convey people’s (and animals’) expressions and feelings. I like the color scheme overall. In the beginning, the author described how she longed to understand the concept of the American Dream and hoped to achieve this by undertaking a road trip with her dog, along the historic Route 66. To her, the forgotten era of “tacky roadside attractions, and tiny abandoned towns, and little diners and motels” were the characterization of America “more than anything else.” She had lived in Los Angeles for a number of years and wanted to explore the “real America.” She met people, both friends and strangers in different towns and cities, who aided her in her journey with her quest. She liked using peculiar words such as “kitsch” and “outsiderness” and, as another reviewer had stated, the writing style may be more suitable for younger readers. Her attention to detail is apparent, however, it can be improved. For instance, the map of the U.S. did not match her state maps–Chicago is by the water and not landlocked (pp 10-11). I couldn’t actually tell if her dog, Bug was a girl or a boy. She referred to the dog as “she/her” but female dogs don’t normally raise their hind leg to pee 😉 In a sense, I somewhat relate to her story. I too am an immigrant to the U.S. but we have two different interpretations of what embodies the American dream. Towards the end, and halfway through her journey, she had become exhausted and “skeptical that the American dream still existed” but remained hopeful of its potential, just like the deserted waterpark she was sitting on at the time. She may have finally realized that her journey had become ineffectual, as I have also felt the same while getting closer to the end of the book. Her last half of the trip (from Texas to Illinois) seemed rushed compared to the beginning, where she spent almost a quarter of her time mostly in Arizona. By the end, she felt unaccomplished by taking the long road trip. I also felt unfulfilled after going through the rest of the book. I think that the title of the book "The American Dream?" depicts its content precisely, in that she was left uncertain of her purpose in taking this journey (hence having a question mark.) I give this book 3.5 (out of 5) stars. I cannot help but compare Khor’s memoir with another recently published book with (almost) the same title, "I Was Their American Dream" by Malika Gharib. I highly recommend Gharib’s book, where she also described her upbringings in a multi-ethnic and multi-religious household and community, and how she had managed to get to where she is now. Read my review to "I Was Their American Dream" on my blog: https://stadeodesign.wordpress.com/20... Image copyright: Shing Yin Khor’s Portfolio, sawdustbear.com. I was provided a free copy of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. #TheAmericanDream #NetGalley

  16. 4 out of 5

    Brooke Lorren

    The American Dream? is a graphic novel that takes readers on a journey through the cities along the historic Route 66, from Los Angeles to Chicago. It's a quick read and there's a lot to like about it. 1) The author gives us a look at the different sites that we'd see along the way if we made the journey ourselves. I've driven along the interstate in several of these places, although I've only driven snippets of Route 66 itself. It's interesting to see all the different places that yo The American Dream? is a graphic novel that takes readers on a journey through the cities along the historic Route 66, from Los Angeles to Chicago. It's a quick read and there's a lot to like about it. 1) The author gives us a look at the different sites that we'd see along the way if we made the journey ourselves. I've driven along the interstate in several of these places, although I've only driven snippets of Route 66 itself. It's interesting to see all the different places that you can see along the route. 2) The illustrations are adorable, and seem to bring out the spirit of the different places that she passed. I love the fact that she made this journey with her dog, and he played a small part of the story as well. 3) It was interesting seeing this trip from an immigrant's point of view. As an example, she saw a sign that said "American Owned" and thought it was a subtle display of racism. My thought of seeing that sign was "what? Are there foreign countries buying up little shops along Route 66? Is this a problem?" WIthout actually getting to know the people that own that business, it's hard to tell if racism actually came into play or not with putting that on the sign, but it was interesting to see her perspective on the different things you might see along Route 66. I would recommend The American Dream? to upper Middle Grade readers and Young Adults alike. It provides a pretty cool glimpse of this country, and as a graphic novel, is a quick, fun read.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Kip

    I’d give 3.5 stars if I could. The illustrations are extremely charming, and as an immigrant, the author has an interesting vantage point on the American Myth. Loved the digressions into Indian motel ownership, random encounters with strangers, and the challenges of solo car camping. The section about growing up in a tourist town in Malaysia was fascinating and not something I’ve seen before. I appreciated the author’s honesty about the fact that this would be a journal of personal discovery.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Bookviper

    First off- The illustrations were fantastic. I loved the format of having illustrations and bits of commentary along the journey. The book started off really well; explaining the author's curiosity about a part of Americana that they'd heard of growing up abroad, giving a little history of Route 66, and bits about camping and meeting interesting people along the way. Unfortunately it quickly devolved into canned racism against white Americans. The author hypocritically wants you to feel sorry fo First off- The illustrations were fantastic. I loved the format of having illustrations and bits of commentary along the journey. The book started off really well; explaining the author's curiosity about a part of Americana that they'd heard of growing up abroad, giving a little history of Route 66, and bits about camping and meeting interesting people along the way. Unfortunately it quickly devolved into canned racism against white Americans. The author hypocritically wants you to feel sorry for how there is still evidence of racism in middle America, but at the same time is completely stereotyping all white, mid-westerners as racists. I'm a white, christian, mid-western born and raised male. I also drove parts of Route 66 last year. I also found the 'American Owned' hotel signs disturbing. I also have been through the 'Have you been saved?' freakishness of West Texas. (I now completely avoid West Texas if I can.) These feelings are not exclusively yours because you're brown. These types of people are a small portion of mid-western American life, yet you're using them to represent the whole. The illustrations showing you're feeling of exasperation and rage at this were exactly how I felt reading this book. Just another example of a closed-minded coaster.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Michelle Kidwell

    The American Dream? A Journey on Route 66 Discovering Dinosaur Statues, Muffler Men, and the Perfect Breakfast Burrito by Shing Yin Khor Lerner Publishing Group Zest Books ™ Comics & Graphic Novels , Teens & YA Pub Date 06 Aug 2019 I am reviewing a copy of The American Dream through Lerner Publishing Group and Netgalley: In this unique book Shing Yin Khor chronicles her solo journey along the iconic Route 6 The American Dream? A Journey on Route 66 Discovering Dinosaur Statues, Muffler Men, and the Perfect Breakfast Burrito by Shing Yin Khor Lerner Publishing Group Zest Books ™ Comics & Graphic Novels , Teens & YA Pub Date 06 Aug 2019 I am reviewing a copy of The American Dream through Lerner Publishing Group and Netgalley: In this unique book Shing Yin Khor chronicles her solo journey along the iconic Route 66 written and illustrated in a fun easy to read manner we learn of Shing’s trip. As a child growing up in Malaysia Shing had two pictures of America one was the s of Hollywood and it’s glitz and glamor , the other was more of The impoverishment of The Grapes Of Wrath. There were aspects of this books I loved, and aspects that I just really didn’t appreciate, and honestly it seemed to be lacking. I give The American Dream three out of five stars! Happy Reading!

  20. 4 out of 5

    Amy Pickett

    A graphic travelogue about the author's road trip along Route 66, from California to Illinois. It's an interesting mix of notable tourist attractions (including some downright spooky ghost towns), Shing Yin Khor's interactions with locals and fellow travelers, and more introspective passages about "immigrant America and the quiet coding of outsiderness." Khor's writing/artistic style reminds me of some of Lucy Knisley's graphic memoirs, especially An Age of License (one of my all-time favorites) A graphic travelogue about the author's road trip along Route 66, from California to Illinois. It's an interesting mix of notable tourist attractions (including some downright spooky ghost towns), Shing Yin Khor's interactions with locals and fellow travelers, and more introspective passages about "immigrant America and the quiet coding of outsiderness." Khor's writing/artistic style reminds me of some of Lucy Knisley's graphic memoirs, especially An Age of License (one of my all-time favorites). The perspective of someone who identifies as both immigrant and American, exploring the concept of the American Dream along an iconic slice of Americana, is unique and worth reading. Oh, and you will definitely want to seek out a New Mexico-style breakfast burrito to accompany this reading experience!

  21. 5 out of 5

    Emily (Obsessed Reader)

    ”My heart has always existed in pieces, between continents and countries and states and borders, and trails I’ve walked and roads I’ve driven. Perhaps that is perfectly acceptable.” I loved going along on the journey across Route 66 and seeing all the fun places the author discovered. I also enjoyed her sharing the people she met and the things she learned. I made notes for a future roadtrip I’d like to take someday. The artwork was really nice in a simple yet interesting way. This was a surprisingl ”My heart has always existed in pieces, between continents and countries and states and borders, and trails I’ve walked and roads I’ve driven. Perhaps that is perfectly acceptable.” I loved going along on the journey across Route 66 and seeing all the fun places the author discovered. I also enjoyed her sharing the people she met and the things she learned. I made notes for a future roadtrip I’d like to take someday. The artwork was really nice in a simple yet interesting way. This was a surprisingly personal look into the author’s journey as well, as we see her struggle with finding her place in America as an immigrant. I would love to see more stories like this, especially in graphic novel form. It was different but in a great way.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Chay

    I enjoyed the watercolor art style, inclusion of historical facts and professional insights from the author's friends/people she met in the storytelling, and her honest opinions about her travels. I also appreciate her views and feelings on traveling across the country alone, pre-2016, as a brown, female immigrant American. I find that many females of color are often told where not to go/what not to do based on their gender and race, which is extremely limiting, so I'm very glad to read about th I enjoyed the watercolor art style, inclusion of historical facts and professional insights from the author's friends/people she met in the storytelling, and her honest opinions about her travels. I also appreciate her views and feelings on traveling across the country alone, pre-2016, as a brown, female immigrant American. I find that many females of color are often told where not to go/what not to do based on their gender and race, which is extremely limiting, so I'm very glad to read about the author's successful travels. And Bug, the dog, was a real treat! The conclusion may not be what a lot of readers are hoping for, but I think that the author was honest in her feelings about her travels, her search for belonging and the American Dream.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Michelle

    A fun and thoughtful travel memoir that follows the author, an immigrant and expat, on a road trip across the historic Rt. 66. With her faithful traveling canine companion Bug, the two share their thoughts on the highway's notable landmarks and the people they encounter. "The American Dream?" is a thoughtful look at how the United States was a safer and more welcoming place to travel before the 2016 election. Beautifully drawn and written, The American Dream? is an entertaining look at our count A fun and thoughtful travel memoir that follows the author, an immigrant and expat, on a road trip across the historic Rt. 66. With her faithful traveling canine companion Bug, the two share their thoughts on the highway's notable landmarks and the people they encounter. "The American Dream?" is a thoughtful look at how the United States was a safer and more welcoming place to travel before the 2016 election. Beautifully drawn and written, The American Dream? is an entertaining look at our country's most iconic highway. Thank you to Netgalley and the Publisher for the opportunity to read and review this title. All opinions are my own.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Cat

    I located a copy of this book recently and promised a review. I enjoyed the ride! I've traveled Rt. 66 on many occasions through the years beginning as a baby in 1957. I still remember many of the sights from when I was a grade schooler and was still enjoying it as a hitch hiking young adult in the mid 70's. Much as changed over the years; I last visited in the 90's and more places I remember are now gone. But I still want to take a road trip to the end of the road in California. I haven't finis I located a copy of this book recently and promised a review. I enjoyed the ride! I've traveled Rt. 66 on many occasions through the years beginning as a baby in 1957. I still remember many of the sights from when I was a grade schooler and was still enjoying it as a hitch hiking young adult in the mid 70's. Much as changed over the years; I last visited in the 90's and more places I remember are now gone. But I still want to take a road trip to the end of the road in California. I haven't finished it yet! I love that Shing Yin Khor made a graphic novel of an icon road. The memories will last a lifetime! Great book! Thanks Shing!

  25. 5 out of 5

    Brad

    I can't say I got much of a flavor of Route 66 from this graphic memoir. I also didn't feel it offered any deeper discoveries for the reader. The author's journey as depicted isn't a very emotional one and the majority of what she finds worth documenting is the same kitsch one would find on postcards in a tourist shop. Maybe that's all there is to find on Route 66--I doubt it--but it doesn't make for an interesting read. (view spoiler)I can't say I got much of a flavor of Route 66 from this graphic memoir. I also didn't feel it offered any deeper discoveries for the reader. The author's journey as depicted isn't a very emotional one and the majority of what she finds worth documenting is the same kitsch one would find on postcards in a tourist shop. Maybe that's all there is to find on Route 66--I doubt it--but it doesn't make for an interesting read. (view spoiler)[ "Like most travel writers, the center of my writing is the overwrought trope of finding myself." (62) "I think I expected to feel more accomplished, but I'm not sure there is much to accomplish in a long road trip." (151) (hide spoiler)]

  26. 5 out of 5

    MilesTeller Shirtless

    3 to 3 and a half stars Look close enough through the gorgeous palette of watercolors and you can still see the guidelines on Khor's drawings, and I wouldn't want it any other way. A scratchy and cheerful book, the road diary is full of beautiful landscapes and roadside attractions that capture the haze of seeing so much so fast. Khor's own journey is entertaining too, as she shows the reader how seeing a dying road reflects her thoughts on her changing ideas on the American Dream, es 3 to 3 and a half stars Look close enough through the gorgeous palette of watercolors and you can still see the guidelines on Khor's drawings, and I wouldn't want it any other way. A scratchy and cheerful book, the road diary is full of beautiful landscapes and roadside attractions that capture the haze of seeing so much so fast. Khor's own journey is entertaining too, as she shows the reader how seeing a dying road reflects her thoughts on her changing ideas on the American Dream, esp as an immigrant. It is a shame there's only a page-long epilogue about the 2016 election near the end - the story does read overly hopeful to the point of naive at times.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Alex Baugh

    I originally picked this up to read because I also done the Route 66 drive. I didn't expect to like this graphic memoir as much as I did. However, it turns out to be the author's journey to find the American dream for herself as an immigrant. It is enlightening and entertaining, asking some very serious questions about what it means to be an immigrant from an immigrant's point of view, and how Americans who were born here see immigrants. Disturbing in these very disturbing times. I couldn't reco I originally picked this up to read because I also done the Route 66 drive. I didn't expect to like this graphic memoir as much as I did. However, it turns out to be the author's journey to find the American dream for herself as an immigrant. It is enlightening and entertaining, asking some very serious questions about what it means to be an immigrant from an immigrant's point of view, and how Americans who were born here see immigrants. Disturbing in these very disturbing times. I couldn't recommend reading it highly enough.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Veronica

    ARC via Netgalley. A thoughtful road trip memoir reflecting on America through the lens of Route 66. The art is simple but colorful and appealing. The author discusses their experiences as an Asian American in passing throughout the narrative but not their nonbinary identity -- not sure if anyone else picked this up expecting a memoir more overtly about being nonbinary but if so, I would recommend Gender Queer by Maia Kobabe instead. That said, The American Dream? is a lovely travelogue and I en ARC via Netgalley. A thoughtful road trip memoir reflecting on America through the lens of Route 66. The art is simple but colorful and appealing. The author discusses their experiences as an Asian American in passing throughout the narrative but not their nonbinary identity -- not sure if anyone else picked this up expecting a memoir more overtly about being nonbinary but if so, I would recommend Gender Queer by Maia Kobabe instead. That said, The American Dream? is a lovely travelogue and I enjoyed it very much.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Abby Johnson

    Longing to discover more about her chosen home of America, artist Shing Yin Khor sets off on a solo road trip along Route 66. While experiencing plenty of kitsch and abandoned history, they have plenty of thoughts about otherness and both surprising and unsurprising discoveries in small towns in the southwest and midwest. I especially appreciated Shing's recollection of being religious at various times in their youth and now being atheist. Religious exploration and atheist representation! I woul Longing to discover more about her chosen home of America, artist Shing Yin Khor sets off on a solo road trip along Route 66. While experiencing plenty of kitsch and abandoned history, they have plenty of thoughts about otherness and both surprising and unsurprising discoveries in small towns in the southwest and midwest. I especially appreciated Shing's recollection of being religious at various times in their youth and now being atheist. Religious exploration and atheist representation! I would hand this to fans of travel memoirs and comic memoirs. Hand to fans of Lucy Knisley.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Allison

    A lovely graphic memoir that's in turns funny, poignant, informative, and thought-provoking. It will certainly appeal to readers who enjoy travel memoirs, especially in graphic novel format, but the narrative goes deeper than mere sightseeing and quirky experiences. As the artist goes on a pilgrimage to see the "real" America on Route 66, she reflects on own identity as an immigrant American. It's fascinating, with a lot to unpack.

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