Title: America Unchained
Author: Dave Gorman
Page Count/Review Word Count: 378
America Unchained tells the true story of one man, his car and his mission; the man is British comedian Dave Gorman, the car is a Ford Torino and the mission is to travel across America from coast to coast without giving any money to The Man. The Man, of course, is corporate America, the chained stores that threaten to eradicate independent ‘mom and pop‘ stores.
It’s an admirable mission, and Gorman writes about it with his typical wit – as always, it’s interesting to see how his adventure pans out, and this one feels more honest, if anything, than his previous work. In the past, Dave went on a Googlewhack Adventure, met 54 other people called ‘Dave Gorman’ and followed his horoscope for 40 days and 40 nights, all in the name of entertainment. Here, though, his journey through America seems to serve a higher purpose – it’s almost not funny anymore, because it’s heartbreaking to read about some of the places that he visited that no longer exist.
And ultimately, that’s sort of the point of the book, and one of the reasons why it’s worth reading – the independent stores that were once typical of America (and, on a wider scale, the rest of the world) are disappearing at an alarming rate, and Gorman’s journey and the book that resulted from it could be the last great celebration of them before they die out entirely. Besides, it’s a hell of a journey anyway – you’re sure to be entertained from start to finish, even if you do struggle to hold back tears along the way.
So I urge you to read the book, to watch the D.V.D. and to go out and buy something from an independent shop, because the only way that places like these can thrive is if we support them ourselves, if we ignore our own laziness and shop at a corner shop instead of at a supermarket when we next need to pick up a loaf of bread and a bag of sugar. If Dave Gorman can do it all of the way across America, then what’s to stop you from doing the same thing in your own back yard?