Title: Thumb Flagging
Author: Jerome Peterson
Bohemian Bum, Hippie Hobo, traveler within the American illusion of freedom. Thumb Flagging is a story of hitchin’ cross country, jumpin’ trains and hoping for the thousand dollar ride. Willy is the worldly philosopher with seemingly no roots, free and ready to hit the road. Jay is the innocent; tentative and afraid, insecure and easily led. Willy talks Jay into dumping their jobs for a few day and heading from sunny Arizona to visit Jay’s sister in Colorado, an easy trip unless your thumb flagging. Jay reluctantly agrees to the adventure and enters an entirely new world; the world of the footloose and free Bohemian Bum.
Yes, this is a story about hitchhiking, but it is more as well. It’s about one man’s growth, it’s about philosophy, it’s about psychology and sociology, and ultimately, it’s a love story. Peterson is able to wrap in about every human emotion and deal with them realistically. Jay starts out as the reluctant and fearful traveler and finishes his personal journey as king of the road. You see his strength and confidence build and feel him develop and confirm his morals and sense of place, all while friends, enemies and chance acquaintances spin in and out of his life. That’s the story of the road, a story that crisscrosses the country from Arizona to Colorado then California and all the way to Main and back.
What made the story most interesting to me was the cross section of society Jay encounters. We all have our impressions and prejudices when we see a thumb flagger. And, though our preconceived notions may be right or way wrong, this book takes you in an entirely different direction. It isn’t the hitcher that’s interesting; it’s the people that are compelled to pick them up. The sad, the disaffected, the do-gooders and the crazies, when a car stops you never know what you’ll get. And when you get that “thousand dollar ride,” it’s all worthwhile.
This is an interesting read, well written and a story with many lessons if you will let them in.
Reviewed by Allbooks reviewer Gregory J. Saunders www.allbookreviews.com
Eloquent Books, ISBN 978-1-60693-750-1
Price $32.50 US