Lynnette Lounsbury’s We Ate The Road Like Vultures is a dark, wild little ride full of literary nerdiness and pluck. Our young hero is the ultimate mystery-solver, and takes us on a kind of Nick Cave meets ultimate road trip journey as she delves into deep Mexico to confirm once and for all if Jack Kerouac is in fact alive.
Lulu is an Aussie girl with some independent means who, when she gets stuck on a mystery that she just cannot seem to solve from home, has the propensity to take herself off to wherever it is in the world to sort it all out. Are vampires real? Did Jack Kerouac really die?
So she finds herself on a dusty bus in the middle of Mexico. She takes herself to a house, knocks on the door, is about to be charged by a moose, when it blows up in her face. Literally. The two old men who live there find this immensely funny, and the damn moose knew the land mine was there so really it only has itself to blame. So dusty, dirty, smelly, and covered in bits of moose, Lulu finds aged Jack Kerouac and Neal Cassady.
“I limped back to my room as fast as the towel and my over-bruised, pruned-up body would take me, pulled together the stinking shreds of my backpack and found a T-shirt to pull on with my jeans which, despite a day of musty air from the house, still reeked of shit and criminals…A road trip with Jack and Neal. There were no words.”
It is mad, isn’t it? And it is just so ridiculous, just so earnest, that you stay open for the ride. Lulu is full of guts and good learning, and the journey is just so damn crazy that you have to jump in. There is a lot of literary geekery, a bit of sincere heart-opening and a lot of nice quotable one-liners that you just want Jack and Neal to come out with:
“There ain’t no road trip without a car that loves the road.”
“Age is just a change of outfit.”
We Ate The Road Like Vultures is a thin little book, and it just found me totally willing to totally suspend disbelief and jump on board. I loved the conspiracy-literary-mystery, the dark and triply journey, and the random Aussie girl pushing herself right into the middle of everything.