Backseat
by Tom Wascoe

Book Reviews


  • Desperate for adventure and ready for his life to change.

       Posted June 6, 2012



  • With a road story that hearkens back to the whimsical travelers

    With a road story that hearkens back to the whimsical travelers of Jack Kerouac and Hunter S. Thompson, Backseat is an unexpected adventure ride through one weekend of a young man's life.

    Michael is a freshman at Oshkosh State University. Determined to do something different and exciting, he decides to pledge a fraternity. As the competition narrows and he finds himself among the last few pledges, all of the pledges are given an extraordinary challenge: to hitchhike from Wisconsin to another location (in Michael and Randy's case, it's California, Pennsylvania) and get there and back in only three days.

    Ready to begin his first real adventure, Michael sets out on the highway with Randy, another pledge who has little to say. With little hope of forming a friendship, Michael turns his attentions to the lines in the road, hitching for rides and finding his way.

    Set in 1969 with the threat of the draft fresh in his mind, Michael's view of the world slowly begins to expand and change with each new car he climbs into. From the first ride in a beat up Dodge sedan, Michael immediately realizes he really is on the adventure of a lifetime. Not knowing where exactly he's going to end up, he lets the power of the road wash over him and rides it for all it's worth.

    With an introspective narrative and half of a country to traverse, author Tom Wascoe gives readers the adventure of a lifetime, told through the eyes of the sensitive and shy Michael. Through truck stops and small towns, backwoods bars and wacky drivers, Michael's adventures will reach out to anyone who has ever heard the call of the road. Full of witty humor and a Midwest native's eye, Wascoe has given readers a road book they'll love.

  • Posted June 6, 2012

    Backseat, the debut fiction novel from author Tom Wascoe.

    Backseat, the debut fiction novel from author Tom Wascoe, is the story of Michael, a college freshman pledging his first fraternity. As part of the hazing, the hopeful pledges take on a challenge: to hitchhike to a destination chosen by the fraternity, and to get there and back in only a few days.

    With the threat of being sent to Vietnam in the background and a future he’s unsure about in front of him, Michael is determined to prove himself by making it into the fraternity, no matter how many miles he has to go to do it.

    Michael, although originally timid and paired with a pledge that makes no secret of his dislike for him, decides to see the challenge as more than just a fraternity gimmick. Instead, he’s firmly resolved to think of it as an adventure, and so sets out with his heart in his throat and his eyes on the road.

    Along the way, Michael meets colorful characters that he’ll never forget. Each ride introduces him to worlds he’s never seen and people he would have never met. With his devil-may-care outlook and enthusiasm for this, his first adventure, Michael travels the highways and byways the way they were meant to be ridden: with excitement and abandon.

    With the author’s own experiences to guide him through the telling of Michael’s story, readers will feel as though they’re riding shotgun, listening to Michael’s thoughts the whole ride. From the humble beginnings to the unexpected turns, readers will follow Michael on a journey everyone should take at least once.

    Backseat is a coming-of-age story about a young man who finds an unexpected path when he takes the road less traveled with his thumb in the wind and a backpack on his shoulder. Anyone who has ever searched to find themselves will see themselves in this story, and maybe even have a few new adventures of their own along the way.

    • DavidCarson1985 on Barnes and Noble

       Posted June 5, 2012