Trips From Hell and All That That Implies by April O’Brien, A Book Review

Shante Abdo

April O’Brien, the author of the story, is a 12-year-old girl with curly red hair and freckles who is moving from Oklahoma to New Mexico with her family. Her mother, alone with 5 children, a Chihuahua, a Collie and a kitten, embarks on a trip across the desert in her small 1962 Opel station wagon. Shortly after, the car dies on them in the unbearable heat of the summer. Alone in the middle of nowhere with little or no supplies, they are faced with the reality that they must find help without delay. This begins a series of unforgettable trips across country that never end without incident.

Although the memories evoke times when money was scarce and food was not enough for a family with so many children, we always encounter fascinating characters that strive for the well-being of their loved ones and think of all sorts of solutions to overcome their immediate problems. These solutions, at times seemingly risky, introduce events full of wit and humor that make us reflect upon life and remind us that simple things have the potential to make us happy no matter what happens around us.

April O’Brien writes the story not only to recount some of her most memorable times in life, but also as a way to show the enviable sense of cooperation and strong bonds in her family. One relives with her the hardships in all of her trips from hell, amaze oneself by the characters in her family and stories, and enjoy the descriptions of past times were life was less about technology and more about personal relationships.

Writing short stories that captivate you is a task that requires great craft and talent. As there is no time to go deep in the descriptions, the essential has to be said and from there a series of events must take place that make you want to keep on reading. I think the author has achieved just this with great skill. Moreover, as a way to make the task of writing short stories even more complex, the author introduces different trips from hell within the story and links one another just as great as her entertaining memories are.

Well done, April. It was a great experience reading your trips from hell, a marvelous example of cooperation and love when things get real tough and complex in life. I recommend these trips to all those interested in personal stories with real people and real situations.

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