Going Somewhere by Brian Benson

Posted June 26, 2014 in A Novel Read / 3 Comments

I received this book from Netgalley for review consideration.


Going Somewhere by Brian BensonGoing Somewhere by Brian Benson
Published by Penguin, Plume on June 24th, 2014
Genres: Biography & Autobiography, Personal Memoirs
Pages: 288
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley
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three-stars

Brian has a million vague life plans but zero sense of direction. So when he meets Rachel, a self-possessed woman who daydreams of bicycling across the States, he decides to follow her wherever she'll take him. Brian and Rachel soon embark on a ride from northern Wisconsin to Somewhere West, infatuated with the promise of adventure and each other. But as the pair progress from the Northwoods into the bleak western plains, they begin to discover the messy realities of life on the road. Mile by mile, they contend with merciless winds and brutal heat, broken bikes and bodies, each other and themselves—and the looming question of what comes next. Told in a voice "as hilarious as it is wise" (Cheryl Strayed), Going Somewhere is a candid tale of the struggle to move forward.

I like the idea of traveling across the U.S., not particularly on a bicycle but I still decided to live vicariously through Brian Benson’s account of his time cycling from Wisconsin to Portland (and back again!) in Going Somewhere.

With Going Somewhere, Brian Benson shared the trials and tribulations of his time cycling from Wisconsin (his home state) to Portland, Oregon (his Girlfriend Rachel’s home). They had no real experience, but a friend they in South America with is going on a similar journey and if he could do it so could they.

They chose their bikes (not mush choice in Brian’s small Wisconsin town), they end up with matching ones. They pack their things, say their goodbyes and go on their way. Brian notes at the end, that he skipped over much of the “before” the ride, so that he could go into more detail with the “during”. So it does progress rather quickly into the ride. And then there is a brief “after”.

Going Somewhere was an okay read for me. I promised myself that I would read more non-fiction and this reads-as-fiction format is what I tend to gravitate towards. The cross-country road trip is why I chose to read this, but the ups and downs of Brian and Rachel’s relationship and the stress that such a trip was putting on them was what kept me reading. Such a trip would make or break most couples.

I think if cycling is something you are interested in then you may get more out of this book than I did.

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3 responses to “Going Somewhere by Brian Benson

  1. My husband likes to cycle, and for his birthday I bought him a book called Life is a Wheel, which is also about a cross country road trip. Except he was alone and he is in his 50s. We haven’t read it yet, but it sounds good. Now I am curious to know how similar they are. He would probably prefer the one without the relationship, and I might prefer the one with.

  2. I love nonfiction and also often choose that which reads like fiction (perhaps true because when I say something reads like fiction, I mean I was swept up by the story – always a good thing!). Some books that felt like fiction for me include The Black Count and Mr. Owita’s Guide to Gardening. I’d highly recommend both 🙂

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