If you want to know what it’s like to live a life in-transit — to dress yourself out of a suitcase, shower in truck stops, and sleep in airport terminals — My Life on the Road is not the book you’re looking for. Gloria Steinem‘s memoir is a reflection on jet-setting and wandering, but it’s one written from the perspective of a woman who reached retirement before she settled down and got herself a permanent residence. Her story would be unbelievable if anyone else tried to tell it, and that’s what makes it so magnetic.
My Life on the Road opens with a sincere thank you note to John Sharpe, a London doctor who risked his livelihood to refer the illegal abortion that allowed a 22-year-old Steinem to travel to India and escape a poor engagement. This sets the tone for the rest of the book, as Steinem’s gratitude and her ability to find the silver lining in a variety of awful situations carry her memoir from dedication to afterword. Bliss tinges memories of being broke, barely scraping by, failing, and getting shouted down.
More than anything else, My Life on the Road centers on Steinem’s political activism, through both journalism and community organization. The memoir abounds with anecdotes from conferences done right, gone wrong, rained out, relocated, underfunded, and overcrowded. As she describes each event in detail, you can’t help but wish she had told you more, because you know, instinctively, that there is more to tell.
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I received a digital galley of this book from Random House in exchange for this review.
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