Book: Backseat by Tom Wascoe
categories: Book, 1969, Fraternity, Road Trip, Hitchiking, Rides, Midwest, Chicago, Wisconsin, East, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, College
Tom Wascoe about this book: This is the story of a freshman, Michael, who is having difficulty in college. It is 1969. He knows that failure from college or dropping out means that he would be drafted and most likely sent to Vietnam. He pledges a fraternity and part of his initiation is to hitchhike 1500 miles over a weekend with a companion he does not particularly like. Michael meets many people on the road trip that influence his thinking. The coming-of-age road trip becomes life-defining for Michael. He expects his life to change but it changes differently than he thinks it will.
This story is based on my own life experience. I actually did hitchhike 1500 miles over a weekend as part of a fraternity initiation. While the structure of the trip is essentially the same about 70% of the story is fiction.
I took 3 years to write this book and about 2 years editing and revising. I had always wanted to write fiction but with five kids and a job that required extensive travel and long hours, I never had the time until I retired. I thought the title and the cover implied the story (riding in backseats and hitchhiking into the future) but also exemplified Michael's internal struggles (always being in the background and desparately seeking a new future). I have also written a number of short stories, am working on a poetry chapbook and am working on my next novel which I hope to have finished in two years.
what to read next: if you read and liked this book...