THE ROAD TO SOMEWHERE: Travels with a Young Boy Through an Old World

James Dodson, Author Dutton $23.95 (336p) ISBN 978-0-525-94762-2

Dodson (Final Rounds; A Golfer's Life) recounts an ambitious journey through England, Holland, Belgium, France, Italy and Greece. But it's his companion on the road, not the elaborate itinerary, that makes his book remarkable. Just days after his second wedding in 2001, Dodson, a former Departures magazine editor, left small-town Maine to explore the world with his 10-year-old son, Jack. Their goal was to "wander like a pair of Mark Twain's proverbial innocents abroad to see what we could see for the two months of summer freedom allotted to us before Jack (a big fan of mythology, a good student of history) moved on to the mysteries of Mount Ararat Middle School." The two are accompanied at separate points by Dodson's new bride and, interestingly, his ex-mother-in-law, but their dynamic father-son duo provides the real backbone for this touching story. When logistical details about the trip occasionally become tedious (do readers really need to hear about where they changed money?), Dodson's frank discussions of traveling with a kid save the day. For instance, jaded voyagers who might skim through the section about exploring Paris on foot will be distracted by an interlude where Jack acquires a pair of comfortable sandals just in the nick of time. Such simple reminders that Dodson is accompanied by a real kid whose feet hurt make this not just a travelogue, but a memoir of a father's cherished time with his son. (Oct.)

Forecast: Dodson's work joins two other recent traveling-with-children memoirs (Daniel Glick's Monkey Dancing [Forecasts, May 5] and Mark Jacobson's 12,000 Miles in the Nick of Time [Forecasts, May 19]). All three are written by men and could attract well-traveled dads.

Reviewed on: 07/14/2003
Release date: 09/01/2003
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 292 pages - 978-0-09-946497-6
Paperback - 292 pages - 978-0-452-28657-3
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