Dodwell’s rocky relationships with men often form the backbone of the story: her U.S. Marine father was usually absent; she ended her marriage after a long road of conflict and frankly recounted incidents in which both sought satisfaction outside the marriage; and, later, the man she thought would be her companion for life changed irrevocably after a traumatic head injury from a motorcycle accident. These setbacks don’t slow her down, however, as she speeds ahead to discover her true potential—and becomes “the Linda [she] always wanted to be.” Readers will immediately recognize her wanderlust, which she attributes to a childhood move from California to New Jersey, and be staggered by the sheer amount of traveling she has accomplished, most of which took place on the back of her true love, the motorcycle.
In fact, motorcycles become somewhat of a metaphor for Dodwell’s unpredictable path and are a major contributing factor to her happiness, despite the upheavals happening throughout her life. She also gives readers glimpses of her artistic side (she graduated from The San Francisco Art Institute and refers to herself as a “serial restorer”) and her passion for women’s rights, including a rousing interaction with Gloria Steinem. The takeaway is Dodwell’s circuitous path of self-discovery and her eventual realization that she can “take on whatever comes next.”
Takeaway: An uplifting account of personal transformation, motorcycle road trips, and overcoming.
Great for fans of: Kathryn Schulz’s Lost & Found, Ayelet Tsabari’s The Art of Leaving.
Design and typography: A-
Marketing copy: B
Sarah Schilke Excerpt
The Road Taken reads like a novel, and I found Dodwell’s adventures keeping me up to read another page or chapter. Dodwell is a strong and intelligent woman, and reading her life story is at first a fascinating lesson about American history. Then it is about various U.S. and international cultures which form her understanding of herself and her presumed roles and place in the world through generations.
I imagine myself on her motorcycle rides and dealing with the challenges and mishaps that play out in the two-wheeled lifestyle. I highly recommend this book for its combination of historical insight, adventure, and transporting your mind off on wild new motorcycle experiences. I would love to see the movie one day, too.