Americana: (And the Act of Getting over It)

Nobrow. Sept. 2019. 344p. ISBN 9781910620618. pap. $18.95. Rated: Teen+. memoir
Obsessed with America since childhood, Irish cartoonist Healy goes to extreme measures to immerse himself in the country and its culture, tackling the 2,660-mile-long Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) despite little experience backpacking. While Healy recounts the various sights and sounds he witnesses during his journey with obvious affection in this graphic travelog, the PCT itself—and the American cities and towns it cuts through—takes a backseat to Healy’s internal conflicts and the quirky assortment of international hikers he meets along the way. Despite its title, the book ends up being less about finding America and more about finding one’s center when no place feels fully like home. Switching back-and-forth between illustrated sequences and paragraphs of text, a style which lends some heft to the narrative, Healy’s memoir is both a thoughtful meditation on being an outsider looking in, and a practical read for people interested in the logistics of conquering a long-distance trail.
VERDICT Healy might never quite get to the bottom of America, but his thoughtful storytelling provides a funny and honest peek into a life-changing quest most people will never experience firsthand, making it appealing for hiking enthusiasts and couch potatoes alike.

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