Review: The Kindness of Strangers

The Kindness of Strangers
The Kindness of Strangers by Mike McIntyre
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Something about the travel narrative just appeals to our sense of adventure. Add in a quest for self-discovery and most of us will be hooked. Mike McIntyre’s story about traveling from San Francisco to Cape Fear, NC, is a perfect recipe for success.

I very much enjoyed this book. Was it a great book? No. I liked reading about the people he encountered and the things he experienced, but in the end he had it almost too easy, and I never felt completely convinced of his awakenings as he went along. For instance, despite the religious nature of so many of those who helped him, McIntyre never really softened toward those with religious beliefs. Did I expect him to convert like Saul on the road to Damascus? No, but he could have reached a point where he decided people of faith weren’t all Jim Bakkers. But it kind of goes back to him having it too easy. If he’d had to suffer a little more he might have seen things differently.

Mostly the book made me nostalgic for my days as a journalist. His descriptions of the people and how they would open up to him and how he’d soon be moving on to the next adventure really made me miss those few years of my life when journalism was my own religion and meeting people and telling their stories was my path to satisfaction. Sadly, that never really paid the bills. (I’m a teacher now and make more than I did as a journalist for a major daily newspaper.)

It’s a good book filled with memorable characters that, because of the nature of the story, we never get to know as well as we’d like to. Read it. Enjoy it. Wish you could do what he did. You know it would be quite a journey.

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