Writing at the Ledges  | Mid-Michigan Authors & Poets

Driving Crazy LSJ Review by Ray Walsh

Walsh book review: Duo tries to survive bizarre road trip

Ray Walsh • For the Lansing State Journal • May 2, 2010

“Driving Crazy” by Lansing author Randy D. Pearson (Riley Press, $12.99) is an unusual, entertaining debut by a talented writer.

It focuses on the adventures of two buddies who take a long journey from the Capital City to Weedpatch, Calif., and beyond, to pick up a classic arcade game.

Set in the worrisome pre-Y2K era over 10 years ago, it showcases the adventures of Jay Naylor, who won the “Crazy Climber” machine in an E-Bay auction but can’t afford the huge shipping charges.

He convinces his laid-back best friend to join him and they borrow a beat-up pickup truck and hit the road with great intentions and little money. They make bizarre excuses and manage to get time off work, but their quick, easy trip doesn’t quite go as planned.

After a disastrous setback in Nashville, Tenn., the carefree duo continues on, using their quick thinking to struggle for survival.

On the way back, they run into more challenges – they’re scuffling for gas money and come up with a unique idea to raise funds.

The pair have lots of adventures, including a standoff with angry motorcycle gang members and a disgruntled bar owner.

There are other advantages to the trip, though, as the friends encounter many positive attitudes of assorted residents of small town America.

The last third of the paperback covers a trip to Florida, with unexpected reactions and life-changing results.

Expanded from a short story he wrote years ago, “Driving Crazy” includes scenes set in Lansing, as well as references to Pinball Pete’s, a classic East Lansing underground arcade.

Pearson, who’s won national writing awards, also contributed four short stories to “Small Towns: a Map in Words.” He’s now editing the second anthology in the series and is planning to publish a short story collection.

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