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I-State Lines [Kindle Edition]

Charles Hugh Smith
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $20.00
Kindle Price: $9.95
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  • Length: 263 pages
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Book Description

Charles Smith has created an incredibly memorable character: a 19-year-old half-Hispanic Californian named Daz, who sets out with his brooding half-Hawaiian buddy on a long, meandering, road-trip from California to New York. It’s filled with humor, thoughtfulness, restlessness, and surprises as the two friends meet an array of Americans with unusual stories to tell, while Daz explores the boundaries of his own unconventionality.
(Martin Shepard)

The story works on so many levels, it's hard to summarize. Summer vacationers looking for a "Road Trip" story won't be disappointed. High School and College juniors and seniors pondering their next steps will be inspired. Vietnam-era vets and those who love them will appreciate the myriad faces of the veterans we meet through Alex and Daz. People with painful family memories or relationships will identify with the Chings, and appreciate the gift Daz gives them when he takes their Lancer on his cross-county journey. My contractor buddies will love the Sacramento chapter, my farmer friends the Iowa connections, and my opera singing / actor friend in New York will identify with Daz's opening night jitters.

Perhaps the customers who buy this book because of my personal recommendation will see hope for our future in the Scandinavian-Hispanic-Germanic-Af-Am faces of our next generation: the blondes named Hernandez , the dark-eyed Johannsens, and the mixed race child who is now a part of my own family tree.
(Keri Holmes, bookseller)

Product Details

  • File Size: 372 KB
  • Print Length: 263 pages
  • Publisher: Permanent Press (NY) (May 2, 2006)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B001CJ8J74
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,395,364 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars On the Road Again September 19, 2006
If you never embarked on a late-adolescent adventure--hitch hiking across the country, stumbling over some mountain range because it was there, meeting a willing girl and having no clue about what to do with her--then I-State lines might not be your book. If you shot out of high school totally focused, college, career and trophy-wife bound, then it is definitely not your book.

But if you were like me, just confused enough to be certain that every twist and turn in your young life was the right turn, and you still indulge in a little nostalgia about your footloose-and-fancy-free days, then you'll delight in Charles Smith's hilarious, 1970s something romp across America. His tale, aptly and sometimes brilliantly told, will bring it all back for you.

The story line is straight forward enough. Two young fellows, Daz and Alex, just out of high school, decide, with a nod from their parents, to raise money, buy a car, and drive it from LA to New York to visit Alex's cousin. Not quite the Cisco Kid and Poncho, the two characters nonetheless fit into timeless mold of Dynamic Duos: opposites attract. A lightning fast martial artist, the tough, disciplined, smart, mostly silent and self contained Alex seems to have no real need for his some what blabby and bungling buddy, Daz, the narrator. Yet Daz's almost annoying persona, and his half-brained ideas and opinions, are just the foil Alex needs to show, or perhaps to experience, his human side.

Together Daz and Alex make a formidable literary team, clowning and stumbling through the numerous adventures one can only encounter by being open on the open road.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Youth in The Rear View Mirror May 21, 2006
It was to be "just a trip to N.York to see a cousin" but ultimately, the journey took them to many other places along the way. This story is about a lot more than the two youthful men who figure as it's main characters. A coming of age and the Rite of Passage - a bird leaves the nest into the rapidly changing stages of the life as it makes it's first bold move out of the familiar and into the unknown. Youth, immaturity, hesitation - all of that begins to change with the wind that brings the "lessons of life" to them as their trip across the country progresses. Coming around unbidden to understand the "Other Guy" - he's probably the way he is because of where he's been and it's impossible to really know what he feels - all interwoven with a special brand of humor that reveals itself from every direction..

Read the first paragraph of page 47 first, to properly whet your enthusiasm, then go back and start at the beginning. Page 47 gets to the heart of the matter in a hurry and it gets better from there. "<<< i wish I'd done something like you're doing when I was younger>>>" Life doesn't wait for you. You either grab some of it as it passes by or you watch till it's all over, realizing too late that it can never be recaptured again, at least not in the way it was. Alex and Daz, wanderlust, summer fever and the Mother Road stretching before them.

So if you never "got to go" or "wish you could make the Sentimental Journey once again", this book will take you there. It's my kind of story, and therefore, I give it a high rating. A good book, and I enjoyed it. A word of caution, though: you will secretly think of your car as "Transpo" from now on.


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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars another chapter June 2, 2006
By huevos
average writers attempt yet another "great american novel" or to re-write "on the road"----------good writers know that the best you can hope for,like one of those pass around stories where different people add their own paragraphs, is to add a chapter to mans endless saga of wanderlust......if you try to copy what was before you, you end up with kerouac copying homer's odyssey--------smith hasn't done that with "i-state lines"----it is one guys trials and tribulations as he fumbles toward growth and finding himself,..similar situations we've all been in, whether caught in the high school dilemna of whether to side with the jocks or the freaks, or the insecurites that in our quest for cool,have us talking in a hipster-slang wai-ki-kebonics,that make us want to just slap daz and tell him to speak english----------daz grows,and with nikki,you find the bravado language slipping away,and the real voice the book, and look at the still photo of a time past, one that memory and tides have softened the edges of, an old photo tucked away in smiths wallet,that at times in the midnight haze of a neighborhood bar,he is willing to pull out and show us.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good Summer Reading June 20, 2006
By Blee
For those with short attention spans, I'll cut to the chase. Should you buy this book? Yes. I mean, Charles Smith seems like a nice guy, and I'm sure anyone paying Bay Area gas prices can use some spare change.

Now, should you read this book? That depends.

There is a lot of charm in I-State Lines. I'll admit I was put off by the odd slang of Daz--okay, I found it irritating--but I got used to it and now routinely use "lapis" to describe beautiful women. I also thought Smith's descriptions of the places Daz and Alex visit, and some of the types who always seem to end up in those places, was hilariously accurate. The scene where Daz wanders down Telegraph avenue and finally visits Berkeley's famous People's Park deserves to be photocopied and mailed to the Berkeley City Council every April 15. And Nikki's Sherpa guide-like excursions to the basement restaurants of the Bay Area brought a (hungry) smile of recognition.

Charm aside, there is also a lot of cliché in this book. Tough guy buddies, grumpy geezers with hearts of gold, and beautiful and mysterious women who are attracted to nerdy brainy guys--okay, if I wrote a book, it would have that last part too. Still, there were definitely a few times when I thought I had read this somewhere before. Maybe in the Iliad?

When I went off to college, my Dad and my Uncle decided to drive with me across the country. My uncle chose the route, and we made a 400 mile detour north so we could swing through St. Louis. We drove right past the Arch and all of the famous jazz and blues clubs and parked in the shadow of an enormous industrial-looking building. My uncle called out over his shoulder "This is it guys. We're here!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars It was an enjoyable trip and I'm glad I went on it
It was an enjoyable trip and I'm glad I went on it. What more need be said? What other reason is there to bring a journey to life for others to experience? Read more
Published 8 months ago by Charlie Wiederhold
5.0 out of 5 stars Great entertainment
Engaging tale of friendship and self-discovery. Funny, poignant, and enlightening, this is great fiction by an author deserving wider recognition. Check it out!
Published on August 29, 2006 by scrubba
5.0 out of 5 stars Road Trip!
Unique and fresh. The characters are unique, the story is fresh. I loved it!
Published on August 7, 2006 by Ginger Ikuno
4.0 out of 5 stars Youth Revisited
I started reading I-State Lines on my daily commuter train ride to my job. It was a perfect read for my commute because each chapter provided a new theme in the travels of the two... Read more
Published on July 30, 2006 by Musette
5.0 out of 5 stars a fresh, original voice
I-State Lines is a breath of fresh air. Told in its own brand of original, teenage vernacular, the book tells the story of Daz, a tough but sensitive nineteen year old, who sets... Read more
Published on June 11, 2006 by scott snyder
5.0 out of 5 stars Sociologically speaking . . .
. . . this is a terrific book. You get a real look at characters with depth -- unique characters you'd love to meet and probably would if you took the same route through America. Read more
Published on May 25, 2006 by Marie Laveau
4.0 out of 5 stars A Good Read
Nice comming of age buddy road trip story that has a go at some pretty deep issues. I made similar trips -- both physically and intellectually -- at that age, and now that my kids... Read more
Published on May 14, 2006 by Kirk Mackenzie
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More About the Author

I have a number of book and film commentaries on my website; you may also find topics of interest on my weblog


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