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How to Avoid Extinction: 11/29/16
How to Avoid Extinction by Paul Acampora is about the cathartic nature of the American road trip. Leo's grandparents had been planning a trip to Utah to the Cleveland-Lloyd Dinosaur Quarry. The grandfather died before they could make the trip and now the date of the trip is coming up and Leo knows his grandmother is hurting.
Leo has also heard the whispers that his grandmother might be suffering from dementia. When his cousin begins to encourage the grandmother to take the road trip, Leo does the only thing he can thing of — goes with them.
Though the trip is different — Allentown to Utah — the sentiment was familiar on a very personal level. A few years after my grandmother died, my grandmother got itch to go on one last road trip. She hadn't traveled farther than the next city over for the entirety of his illness. My brother and I ended up with her on a road trip through Arizona over spring break.
For Leo, the trip is a meditation on life and death. The dinosaurs help him put his grandfather's life into perspective. Sure it swings a bit maudlin at first but it's part of the grieving process.
Initially I read this book for the 2015-6 CYBILs but it fits perfectly into my road narrative project. I will be going back and analyzing my copy more thoroughly on Tumblr.