by Eleanor Davis
Koyama Press. 2017
Grades 8 and up
To write this review, I borrowed the book from the public library.
Note: During Cathy’s Sabbatical, Louise is composing all the reviews. Cathy returns February, 2018.
In You & A Bike & A Road, cartoonist and illustrator Eleanor Davis takes us along on her 2016 road trip as she cycled from Tucson, Arizona where her parents live to her home in Athens, Georgia. Her black & white sketches, drawn while on the road are offered as journal entries, rather than conveyed in traditional comic panels offer an immediacy; a strong personal connection between the author and you the reader.
Why she decided to do the trip?
“My husband and I want a baby so I figure I either do it now or wait 20 years.”
“ My dad built me this bike and I hate boxing & shipping bikes so I decided to just ride it home!”
What she doesn’t say is this: “I was having trouble with wanting to not be alive.”
Her keen observations of what she sees traveling alone, up to 50 miles per day, will be of interest to anyone who dreams of taking a long-distance cycling trip. Cycling so close to the Mexican border, Eleanor routinely sees border police in cars and helicopters. Mostly sleeping in her tent, she meets some interesting characters along the way who welcome her into their home.
This is a quick read, but one that I keep thinking about long after I finished. I admire Davis' artistic talent, her courage biking all alone, and her ability to admit her body is unable to continue. (Her knees give out).
Eleanor Davis is a cartoonist and illustrator. She has written Stinky and with her husband, Drew Weing, Flop to the Top, both Toon books.
This is the perfect graphic memoir to give to budding artists. And those who like riding bicycles.
Go here to see some interior shots of this book.