Backseat by Tom Wascoe is Michael’s story; a fictional account of life as a college freshman in Mid America. In Wascoe’s debut novel he captures the pitfalls of campus life, the academic and social pressures to succeed and to be accepted.
In an effort to fulfill his need to be accepted and seek approval from his peers Michael becomes a pledge for one of the campus fraternities. As the final stage in getting into the fraternity, Michael and Randy are tested by the fraternity to make a 1,500 mile, weekend trip, hitchhiking to a school in Pennsylvania. Michael looks at the challenge as an adventure. Randy has no interest and tries at every chance to give up and return to their school in Oshkosh, Wisconsin.
Each new ride introduces a set of colorful characters and each set of obstacles afford Michael another opportunity to observe life from a new perspective, accept the unexpected kindness of strangers, widen his world view, and see himself in a new light as he takes initiative and becomes an eager observer of human nature. Michael’s adventure is life changing but not exactly in the way he expected.
Backseat by Tom Wascoe is a thoroughly enjoyable read: a mix of humor, a well-paced plot, carefully developed characters, with a series of conflict and resolution, unexpected plot twists, and a completely unexpected surprise ending. Highly recommended.