A late-in-life coming-of-age escapade told with humor and heart, Don't Think Twice is a moving and irreverent account of grief, growing up, and the healing power of adventure.
Within six months Barbara Schoichet lost everything: her job, her girlfriend of six years, and her mother to pancreatic cancer. Her life stripped bare, and armed with nothing but a death wish and a ton of attitude, Barbara pursues an unlikely method of coping. At the age of 50, she earns her motorcycle license, buys a Harley on eBay from two guys named Dave, and drives it alone from New York to Los Angeles on a circuitous trek loosely guided by her H.O.G. tour book and a whole lot of road whimsy.
On the open highway - where she daily takes her speed to 100 - Barbara battles physical limitations and inner demons on a journey that flows through the majestic Appalachian Mountains, the enchanting Turquoise Trail, and all along America's iconic Route 66. She is awed by the battlefields in Gettysburg, stunned by the decadence of Graceland, and amused by a Cadillac graveyard in the middle of nowhere. She meets kind strangers, odd strangers, and a guy who pulls a gun on her for cutting him off. She is vulnerable but sassy, broken but determined to heal...or die trying.
When one is grieving, one does some really outlandish stuff to come to grips with that loss. Barbara Schoichet is no different. Suffering from the loss of her job, her girlfriend and the sudden passing of her mother sends her into a tailspin of self-discovery and coming to terms with her losses. While sassy she is definitely broken and a bandage isn't going to fix her. However, buying a Harley Davidson motorcycle and driving across country at speeds of 100 mph, meeting other bikers, and accepting the lack of control one has on the road just might fix her. Cutting herself off from her sisters and other family members, her trip across the US and the purchase of the bike is much more than the thrill of riding; it is the painful journey of self-discovery and coming to terms with herself, her relationships and the death of her parents.
Barbara’s story is told in a witty, sometimes sardonic manner with vividly rich details that makes the situation all the more real. At fifty, who in their right mind would get their motorcycle license and then drive across country on a huge hog? Especially since her experience and time spent on a motorcycle is less than the time it takes to uncork a delightful bottle of red rosé?
Her new-found friends – Dave and Dave, help get her started but the people she meets along the way help to steer her on her adventure filled journey through Graceland, the Appalachians, the Cadillac graveyard and more. I found myself laughing and crying and sometimes at the same time. The bike falling over on her and her exchange with the hotel clerk was priceless as was the conversation with the police officer.
The dialog resonated with the listener as it was too real not to. Barbara Schoichet’s story is told from the heart and a place that every one of us has been, will be and have not yet left. Very poignant and gut wrenching but comforting too. Schoichet gives her listeners an abundance of advice and guidance – one can make the journey but not without some pain, doubt and fear.
A beautifully constructed story that makes it hard to stop listening as you just know the moment you go to stop she’s going to do something else that will bring a slight smile to your lips or a nod of your head that you know what she’s talking about or a small tear sliding down your cheek as she hits home time and time again. Although therapy would have been a safer and traditional route to take, the Harley journey of a lifetime gave her the tools she needed to make the choices and grow the way it meant more to her.
The narrator is also Barbara Schoichet. She delivers a heart-felt performance that makes it even more realistic and hits the heart. The passion and humor she delivers each word is mesmerizing because she lived it! Schoichet didn’t just read the book to the listener, she delivered it with the passion and humor that connected the listener to the story even more. It was indeed richer being narrated by the author than if anyone else had done it.
This is a book for anyone going through the grieving process as well as anyone who just feels lost. I lost my father a short bit ago and found myself exploring, if not the same issues, very similar ones as Schoichet. This audiobook gave me comfort; it did not give me the courage to go on a cross-country bike ride, but it gave me comfort. This is a wonderful book - you will laugh and you will cry and you will be better for it!
There were no issues with the production. Everything was perfect, clear and concise.
Audiobook was provided for review by the author.
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7 of 9 people found this review helpful
I laughed and I cried and I enjoyed the whole journey detailed in this book. I have added another person to my list of people I would like to have a beer with.
What made the experience of listening to Don't Think Twice the most enjoyable?
I learned a lot of the Harleyisms that my friend talks about.
Would you be willing to try another one of Barbara Schoichet’s performances?
Probably not. Someone else should read for her.
Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?
I chuckled over the comparison on walking down the aisle at church or the aisle in the Harley store.
And my heart swelled over Barbara's courage to admit her part in the relatioship with her Mom. I felt like healing started right then.
Any additional comments?
The 'cry' on the beach. Signified the end of the hardest part of the journey. It was so raw, yet so positive. It really spoke to me-the ability to let down the walls enough to really feel the feels. I knew it was in there. I could hear it in Barbara's voice when she talked about her sisters....how they love one another.