The Wayward Bus; John Steinbeck
I'm so glad I finally read The Wayward Bus, as it did not disappoint. The entire story takes place over a two day period in post WWII (1947). A group of very different people board a bus driven by 50 something, Juan Chicoy, Juan and his wife Alice operate a small luncheonette at Rebels Corners. Juan also is a mechanic, and drives a bus from Rebels Corners to San Juan de la Cruz. Juan is bored with his life and routine, and on this particular trip, heavy rains and an unsafe bridge, has Juan taking an alternate dirt road route. The passengers end up stranded, when the bus becomes stuck in the mud, and Juan tells the group he plans to walk to get help.
Now what really frames the central story is the relationships of all of the characters. Each of characters, in one way or another, are unhappy with their life : bored, love issues, frustrations, addictions etc. There is a pimple-faced teenager with raging hormones, a beautiful but promiscuous young woman, a dysfunctional but conservative husband and wife and their college daughter, a shy insecure waitress who dreams of being an actress and writes letters to Clark Gable, and a few others as well. Will these individuals recognize that they need to make changes in order to improve their lives?
The Wayward Bus, gave great insight into what life was like for every day people in the 1940s. A terrific character driven novel in which I suspect that many readers might find at least one of these passengers someone they could relate to. It's not a happy story, but it is one that should hold your interest and make you think. RECOMMENDED (4.5/5 stars)
Have you read this book? If so what did you think?