R5: Lord Knows I Need A Vacation
Posted on October 6, 2010
Filed under R5
Posted by: Brea Davenport
I have always loved learning random tidbits of history. Growing up I loved reading my mom’s book called The Odd Index which had lists of really peculiar things. My favorite lists always had to do with history. One that sticks out in my mind was a list of the bizarre similarities between the murders of President Lincoln and President Kennedy. Assassination Vacation is like The Odd Index in that it shows bits of history in a really interesting way. I was already intrigued at learning about our presidents who died at the hands of another human so I knew that the reading wold not be too difficult, however Vowell’s writing style made reading so pleasant the interesting facts were even easier for me to read. She weaves in valid points of history with the story of her journey making the probably average walk through history more of a joyous romp through time.
Along with interesting history facts, she logically provides explanation of what she is doing, but with a good dose of humor to keep the story actually readable. I really enjoyed hearing about her journey as much as I enjoyed learning about our unfortunate assassinated presidents. For example, take her excerpt of when she finds the perfect word to describe her journey of learning about assassinated presidents.
“…It occurred to me that there is a name for travel embarked upon with the agenda of venerating relics: pilgrimage. The medieval pilgrimage routes, in which Christians walked from church to church commune with innards of saints, are the beginnings of the modern tourism industry.”
The passage is a mixture of historical fact, explanation of what she is doing, and it’s funny. Assassination Vacation is full of moments like this, moments that have lots of information, but are easy to relate to. I really admire Vowell’s ability to maintain consistency on her subject, but switch from facts to opinion with ease and humor. It is a skill that I hope to acquire so that my writing is fun to read, yet very interesting too.