December 23rd, 2010 21:05 EST
When the veil is lifted, you can either smile or deny, " reads page 77 of this literary novel set in the late 1960s and through the 70s. Philip Scott Wikel`s itinerant characters Morgan and Livy from different continents are joined in a bond of love for writing and hope in traveling to find their true abode. That is, when the veil is lifted off their uneasy lives as teenagers dependent on others, they don`t choose to stay in denial for long, but get their stuff packing, putting faith in the existence of a place where they actually belong.
Not the feeling of adventure alone but several things make Philip Scott Wikel`s Ticket to Ride (Julian Day Publishing and Design, 2010) a delightful book. We don`t see any dramatization or over-victimization of the young characters as one might tend to imagine about the teens growing in times of sexual revolution and nihilism. Morgan and Livy make extraordinary characters in their ordinariness of abstaining to react to the fragility of youth in any negative way. Their travels across various continents symbolize a continued journey along the invisible road of real sanity in times when sanity itself was popularly defined by irrationality and impulse.
The story is lovely and the spirit of the two strings of narratives shares a quest for peace and self-reliance in pursuing it. The element of conflict is not strong. Yet, travel and imagery are very pronounced and impart the sense of immediacy of situations. There are several great quotes and lines from popular songs of the age adorning the novel`s various chapters. And there is but one notable weakness (which loomed for a while at the proofreader inside this reviewer) " the typos you catch on many pages. It doesn`t get in the way of reading much, but you do catch a spelling/grammar bug here and there. Apart from the latter, this is a wonderful work of fiction, itinerary, and value of positivity.