This month's theme is a book that received a lot of hype. I suppose the definition of hype can vary, but I remember seeing lots of comments on Twitter about this book, as well as positive reviews at Dear Author, Smart Bitches, and elsewhere. At some point I was obviously compelled to buy it and it's been sitting on my Kindle for several months. I'm awfully glad I finally got around to reading this. I think I needed something with a good dash of humor. It had been a rough week. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and several times I laughed out loud. I found it smart, sexy, and emotional. Now I want to go read more by this author.
For those of you who missed the hype, Ride with Me, by Ruthie Knox is the story of Tom and Lexie, two people who are doing a cross-country bicycle tour on the TransAmerica Trail. Lexie advertised for a companion to ride with; Tom had intended to go it alone. But Tom gets maneuvered by his sister into riding with Lexie and the two of them set off together from Oregon, headed to Virginia. Tom is hoping to eventually ditch Lexie, but not until he can find her another riding partner. Along the way, Tom and Lexie develop a grudging respect for one another, which turns to liking, which turns to love.
I really liked the way Knox uses the background of the bicycle ride to develop the story. While I've never done anything remotely like this (hey! a couple laps around the neighborhood is good enough for me), I have driven through most of the places talked about in the book, and it was all very familiar. I also work with someone who did a similar bike ride a few summers ago and I was often reminded of his story. The backdrop seemed very authentic. And the three months on the trail give Tom and Lexie a lot of time for them to come to grips with their feelings and for Tom in particular to overcome the obstacles standing in the way of a commitment.
Tom and Lexie come from rather different backgrounds and Tom is covering up a world of hurt. Tom is taciturn and private. Lexie is outgoing and an open book. Yet these two opposite people share a love of bicycle touring and an interest in the same kinds of books. Tom is spontaneous, Lexie plans everything. It was great the way Knox developed these characters and gave them the ability to change and adapt to one another.
So here's to a book that lived up to its hype. If you haven't read it yet, consider this more hype heaped onto the hype that's already out there.
Oh, and one last thing. Happy Thanksgiving!!