Reviews for Peking to Paris : Life and Love on a Short Drive Around Half the World
Book News Reviews
In 2007, a US urbanite-turned-rancher (but hardly gung-ho adventurer), her husband, and their 1940 LaSalle entered the Peking to Paris Motor Challenge as a team among the drivers of 125 antique cars in the race. Bennett reflects on their adventures and misadventures way off the beaten road. Includes a map of the recreation of the original 1907 race route showing locations where shock absorbers and leaf springs were replaced, and information on the rebuilding and contents of their coupe, the route and competitors, and a glossary of rally terminology. Annotation ©2013 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
Booklist Reviews 2013 April #1
If racing from Beijing (Peking) to Paris in an antique automobile sounds like a nightmare to you, then Bennett will be the perfect guide. Where travel memoirists tend toward the intrepid adventurer, Bennett is another sort altogether. She gets car sick. She stresses about having to read a map. She surveys her fellow racers with the emotional maturity of a high-schooler, desperately wanting to be part of the "cool crowd." At times, she's every bit as annoying as anyone would be after spending day after mind-numbing day riding in a perpetually broken-down car across relentlessly not-at-all-scenic terrain. If the reader, like Bennett, expects to encounter colorful characters along the way, she will, like Bennett, be disappointed to learn that she actually spends a disproportionate amount of time in auto-repair shops. But, ultimately, the race accomplishes what Bennett had hoped: she grows closer to her husband, Bernard, as they become completely dependent on each other in their two-person bubble. She even discovers a love of the road, proving it's all about the journey, not the destination. Copyright 2012 Booklist Reviews.
Kirkus Reviews 2013 March #2
A road-trip memoir from an author who has "a love-hate relationship with adventure." Why did a woman who suffers from carsickness, has no sense of direction and hates roughing it accompany her husband on a grueling five-week, 7,800-mile rally through China, Mongolia, Russia and Europe? After selling their software company and settling on a ranch in Colorado, Bennett and her husband, Bernard, grew restless. After two decades of marriage, they had "grown nonchalant about our togetherness. We needed a new project, something that would pull us off our separate paths and merge us into a team again." At a lunch stop for the Colorado Grand classic car tour, Bernard had a chance encounter that offered up a challenge: a 35-day race following the silk route taken by Genghis Khan on the centenary of the original Peking to Paris Motor Challenge. All they needed was determination, money and a classic car. So began a two-year project to find, rebuild and drive the perfect prewar automobile. They settled on a 1940 GM LaSalle two-door coupe, affectionately named Roxanne. But the rebuild took longer than expected, and Bennett and Bernard had no chance to road test the work and learn the nuances of GPS navigation. This led to a structural problem that plagued them throughout the journey. While Bennett longed to see the landscape and experience the local culture, they ended up driving 10 hours per day and spending their off days in various garage bays. "This trip is all about driving and not about the journey," she lamented. Yet her writing captures the beauty of the austere landscape, changing social dynamics with other teams and the nuances of her shifting relationship with her husband. A fun ride, worth the trip. Copyright Kirkus 2013 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.