Read the story here. Advertise at Before It's News here.
Profile image
By Sue Jackson (Reporter)
Contributor profile | More stories
Story Views
Last hour:
Last 24 hours:

Fiction Review: The Lincoln Highway

% of readers think this story is Fact. Add your two cents.

Book By Book

Several years ago, one of my book groups read A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles, and it tied for my #1 book of the year in 2021. So, when The Lincoln Highway by Amor Towles was released, I couldn’t wait to read it. My husband gave it to me for Christmas, and I put it in my stack for the Big Book Summer Challenge. Even better? One of my Booktube friends, Nikki of Red Dot Reads, suggested we read it together as a Buddy Read. This was the perfect book to read together with someone and discuss. It’s a novel about a journey, and it took us as readers along on that journey, too. Nikki and I were both charmed and engrossed by the characters, unexpected plot twists, and historical and geographic detail.

In 1954, eighteen-year-old Emmett is being driven home to Nebraska by the warden of the juvenile work farm where he was assigned in Kansas. Emmett was sent there when got into a fight with another boy and accidentally killed him. Now, he’s been released a few months early because his father died, leaving himself and his little brother, eight-year-old Billy, on their own. Their father was deep in debt, so they are also losing their home. 

After a happy reunion with Billy, Emmett explains that he thinks they should leave town in Emmett’s Studebaker because they have nowhere to live and some people in town won’t forgive Emmett. Billy happily agrees and is ready to hit the road “with nothing but a kit bag.” He’s been reading (and rereading) Professor Abacus Abernathe’s Compendium of Heroes, Adventurers, and Other Intrepid Travelers, and Billy is ready for his own adventure. Besides, he knows exactly where they should go. After their father died, Billy found a series of postcards their father had hidden. Their mother left when Billy was just a baby, but she sent a postcard to the boys from every stop along the way from Nebraska to California. Though Emmett doubts they can find their mother (those postcards were the last they heard of her), he agrees that California is a good destination.

What Emmett doesn’t know yet (but is about to find out) is that two of his bunkmates from the work farm stowed away in the warden’s trunk. Once the warden leaves the house, Duchess and Woolly come out of hiding and announce that they are coming along on this epic road trip … except that first they need to make a quick stop in New York to retrieve Woolly’s inheritance. In case you’re not familiar with U.S. geography, that is in the exact opposite direction! The four boys/young men set off on their journey.

And what a journey it is! Patterned after the hero’s journeys described in Billy’s book (which he brings along), each of the four characters meets new people, faces and surmounts challenges and obstacles, and expands his world. And we as readers get to know them each intimately, including their pasts. Chapters alternate between different characters’ perspectives, including some of the people they meet along the way, so there is a lot of emotional depth and complexity to this story. But it’s not just a character-driven story because so much happens in this novel! There are unexpected plot twists around every turn in the road, and Billy gets the adventure he yearned for. In fact, Billy is the heart of this novel. All of the main characters are fully drawn and likable in their own ways, but Billy is especially enchanting. He’s precocious, smart, remembers everything he reads, and has fully absorbed the lessons of the classic heroes, like Hercules and Ulysses, from his book. In fact, Billy often sees things that the older boys and adults around them miss. 

Nikki and I left each other voice messages after each of the ten sections (representing the ten days of the trip), and discussing this book deepened the pleasure we got from it. Each of us noticed things or understood things that the other missed because there is just so much here. Reading this book is such a delightfully immersive experience! While there are some moments of tragedy, particularly toward the end, much of this book is focused on joy, going along with the boys on their adventurous hero’s journeys, both physical and metaphorical. It’s a beautiful tapestry of people, places, experiences, and wisdom, and I loved every minute of it.

576 pages, Viking

This book fits in the following 2023 Reading Challenges:


Mount TBR Challenge

Literary Escapes – Nebraska

Big Book Summer Challenge


Visit my YouTube Channel for more bookish fun!


Listen to a sample of the audiobook here and/or download it from Audible. The audio sounds great, with three different narrators, and this sample is from the very beginning of the book.


Or get this audiobook from and support local bookstores.


You can buy the book through, where your purchase will support the indie bookstore of your choice (or all indie bookstores)–the convenience of shopping online while still buying local!



Before It’s News® is a community of individuals who report on what’s going on around them, from all around the world.

Anyone can join.
Anyone can contribute.
Anyone can become informed about their world.

"United We Stand" Click Here To Create Your Personal Citizen Journalist Account Today, Be Sure To Invite Your Friends.

Please Help Support BeforeitsNews by trying our Natural Health Products below!

Order by Phone at 888-809-8385 or online at M - F 9am to 5pm EST

Order by Phone at 866-388-7003 or online at M - F 9am to 5pm EST

Order by Phone at 866-388-7003 or online at M - F 9am to 5pm EST

Humic & Fulvic Trace Minerals Complex - Nature's most important supplement! Vivid Dreams again!

HNEX HydroNano EXtracellular Water - Improve immune system health and reduce inflammation.

Ultimate Clinical Potency Curcumin - Natural pain relief, reduce inflammation and so much more.

MitoCopper - Bioavailable Copper destroys pathogens and gives you more energy. (See Blood Video)

Oxy Powder - Natural Colon Cleanser!  Cleans out toxic buildup with oxygen!

Nascent Iodine - Promotes detoxification, mental focus and thyroid health.

Smart Meter Cover -  Reduces Smart Meter radiation by 96%! (See Video).

Report abuse


    Your Comments
    Question   Razz  Sad   Evil  Exclaim  Smile  Redface  Biggrin  Surprised  Eek   Confused   Cool  LOL   Mad   Twisted  Rolleyes   Wink  Idea  Arrow  Neutral  Cry   Mr. Green

    Load more ...




    Email this story
    Email this story

    If you really want to ban this commenter, please write down the reason:

    If you really want to disable all recommended stories, click on OK button. After that, you will be redirect to your options page.