Blythe Roberson, in conversation with Joanna Calo, discusses America the Beautiful?: One Woman in a Borrowed Prius on the Road Most Traveled

For writer and comedian Blythe Roberson, there are only so many Mary Oliver poems you can read about being free, and only so many times you can listen to Joni Mitchell's travel album Hejira, before you too, are itching to take off. Canonical American travel writers have long celebrated the road trip as the epitome of freedom. But why does it seem like all those canonical travel narratives are written by white men who have no problems, who only decide to go the desert to see what having problems feels like?

To fill in the literary gaps and quench her own sense of adventure, Roberson quits her day job and sets off on a Great American Road Trip to visit America's national parks.

America the Beautiful? is a hilarious trip into the mind of one of the Millennial generation's funniest writers. Borrowing her Midwestern stepfather's Prius, she heads west to the Loop of mega-popular parks, over to the ocean and down the Pacific Coast Highway, and, in a feat of spectacularly bad timing, through the southwestern desert in the middle of July. Along the way she meets new friends on their own personal quests, learns to cope with abstinence while missing the comforts of home, and comes to understand the limits--and possibilities--of going to nature to prove to yourself and your Instagram followers that you are, in fact, free.

The result is a laugh-out-loud-while-occasionally-raging-inside travelogue, filled with meditations and many, many jokes on ecotourism, conservation, freedom, traffic, climate change, and the structural and financial inequalities that limit so many Americans' movement. Ultimately, Roberson ponders the question: Is quitting society and going on the road about enlightenment and liberty--or is it just selfish escapism? (Harper Perennial)

Event date: 
Friday, May 5, 2023 - 7:00pm
Event address: 
8818 W Sunset Blvd.
West Hollywood, CA 90069
Event Type: 
America the Beautiful?: One Woman in a Borrowed Prius on the Road Most Traveled By Blythe Roberson Cover Image
$18.99
ISBN: 9780063115514
Availability: Usually arrives at our store within 4-7 days
Published: Harper Perennial - April 18th, 2023