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Thursday, April 18, 2024
The Observer

‘The Odyssey of Winnie’ shows owning an RV is harder than you think

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Michael Meyer, a professor in the Mendoza College of Business and author of “The Odyssey of Winnie: Our Two-Year Adventure of Owning an RV,” admits that he often does things just to prove that he can. That might very well be the case for writing this book. Despite the author’s candid intentions, or perhaps because of them, readers will likely enjoy the humor and real-world knowledge this informative story provides.

The reader may at first question “Why am I reading this?” But the light-hearted, laughable adventures of Meyer and his family quickly win over any skeptics. The tale follows the crew and their driver (Meyer) across the country as they learn a myriad of lessons about their RV and about life — usually the hard way and with plenty of self-deprecation and colorful language. As readers question why they are so engrossed by the story, Meyer questions why he thought buying an RV would be a good idea, creating a kind of synergistic absurdity between author and reader.

Aside from the humor — which is reminiscent of something out of the Clark Griswold family vacation universe — the book also features quite a few learning moments for reader and author alike. Tragic tales of family vacation mingle with how-to-RV-for-dummies-esque tips and tricks. In the end, the reader comes to understand how owning an RV is both more difficult and more expensive than one might initially speculate.

Still, the book ends on a positive note. Meyer says it best: “Money is not everything when compared to what we got from the trip.” Even so, ever the accounting professor at heart, he includes plenty of budgeting and financial info. Again, that knowledge may be helpful for the potential RV owner.

In terms of author style, Meyer writes with refreshing honesty and humor about his own mistakes and often perpetual shortcomings. The narrative is just detailed enough to make the reader feel like they’re on two family road trip vacations without relaying unnecessary information. The 193 pages written in a travel journal tone make the perfect read for a plane ride. The book could easily be finished in a single sitting by anyone looking to distract themselves with a story that doesn’t take itself too seriously.

“The Odyssey of Winnie” also stands as an egalitarian example of how the art of language and storytelling should be inclusive to all. On the surface, Meyer fills a whole book with informal stories about an RV and his family’s adventures. But when digging a little deeper, the book poses a serious question: Why do people think a family vacation isn’t novel-worthy? Our lives are full of stories, and there’s no one who can say how we’re allowed to tell them. While a humorous hodgepodge storyline about two RV trips across the U.S., countless RV mistakes, family photos and advice for owning an RV might not be the most likely to make a bestsellers list, its lack of fame doesn’t make it any less worthwhile. 

If you decide to pick up this book, you just might learn a thing or two about RVs and enjoy a good number of chuckles. Those who read somewhat carefully could even end up taking home a 54 million year old fish fossil.

Title: “The Odyssey of Winnie: Our Two-Year Adventure of Owning an RV”

Author:Michael Meyer

Publisher: Fulton Books

If you like: RVs, roadtrips

Shamrocks: 4 out of 5