3 out of 4 stars
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Don't Think Twice is a non-fiction memoir that focuses on a particular time in the life of Barbara Schoichet. After being let go from her job and having a long-term relationship end, she learned her mother had cancer. Just days after receiving that news, her mother passed away. All of these events, especially the death of her mother, resulted in an incredibly difficult time for the author. In an effort to feel anything again, Ms. Schoichet began to consider getting a motorcycle. After completing a three-day course and getting her license, she bought her first motorcycle.
Barbara had been considering taking a long journey (of 100 miles or so) to help process her grief. So after getting comfortable with her first motorcycle, a 1986 Honda Rebel, she started looking for something a little more serious. The perfect motorbike, a Harley 1200 Custom with a teal tank and maroon pinstriping, was found online, in New York. Barbara was presented with the challenge of distance since she lived in Los Angeles. The second challenge was the Californian vehicle laws. The motorcycle had to have a high enough mileage to not be subjected to the strict rules for new vehicles. As a result, the simplest solution for Barbara was to go to New York and drive the motorbike back to Los Angeles. This was, perhaps, a little further than the 100-mile trek she had been imagining!
The first quarter of the book led up to the big trip. Once the trip began, the writing was split between reminiscences and current happenings along the road. The transitions were smooth and logical. The text flowed well, was easy to follow and was set at a good pace. I found it interesting and was always curious about what would happen next. I enjoyed the style of the writing and the level of honesty in the anecdotes. From bravado and swagger to feeling lost and bereft to slowly regaining a sense of equilibrium, the book covered a range of emotions. I enjoyed the descriptions of some of the people and sights along the way as well as the internal terrain that was covered. Lastly, the epilogue gave a nice sense of closure to the book.
I’m not sure how to say what my least favourite aspect of the memoir was without including spoilers. Suffice it to say, occasionally it was hard to tell if the thoughts of depression were current at the time of writing or intended for the timeline within the book. Also, there were a couple of places where I would have liked the author to have added a deeper understanding of the events. One example is that the sadness of some occasions of feeling left out as the fourth and youngest child was clearly shared. However, the joy of the stories of being accepted and lovingly included did not seem to be fully appreciated.
Don't Think Twice by Barbara Schoichet was professionally edited. Personally, I would have liked more commas. However, there were very few actual errors/typos in the book. The memoir did include some profane words, references to sex and a (non-detailed) implication of rape. It is aimed at a mature audience. Readers who enjoy memoirs and/or stories about people working through tough times would appreciate this book. It may also be an interesting reference for any woman contemplating a lone motorcycle journey. I would love to give this book 3.5 stars. However, since that’s not an option, my rating is 3 out of 4 stars. As mentioned, I would have liked just a notch more of in-depth contemplation. It must be very difficult to bare one’s soul and share it with the world. Nevertheless, it is those who find the courage to go that much deeper, that touch the most lives.
Don't Think Twice
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