60 reviews

Queen of the Road: The True Tale of 47 States, 22,000 Miles, 200 Shoes, 2 Cats, 1 Poodle, a Husband, and a Bus with a Will of Its Own
by Doreen Orion

Published: 2008-06-03
Paperback : 304 pages
91 members reading this now
59 clubs reading this now
39 members have read this book
Recommended to book clubs by 55 of 60 members

A pampered Long Island princess hits the road in a converted bus with her wilderness-loving husband, travels the country for one year, and brings it all hilariously to life in this offbeat and romantic memoir.

Doreen and Tim are married psychiatrists with a twist: She’s a self-proclaimed ...

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A pampered Long Island princess hits the road in a converted bus with her wilderness-loving husband, travels the country for one year, and brings it all hilariously to life in this offbeat and romantic memoir.

Doreen and Tim are married psychiatrists with a twist: She’s a self-proclaimed Long Island princess, grouchy couch potato, and shoe addict. He's an affable, though driven, outdoorsman. When Tim suggests “chucking it all” to travel cross-country in a converted bus, Doreen asks, “Why can’t you be like a normal husband in a midlife crisis and have an affair or buy a Corvette?” But she soon shocks them both, agreeing to set forth with their sixty-pound dog, two querulous cats—and no agenda—in a 340-square-foot bus.

Queen of the Road is Doreen’s offbeat and romantic tale about refusing to settle; about choosing the unconventional road with all the misadventures it brings (fire, flood, armed robbery, and finding themselves in a nudist RV park, to name just a few). The marvelous places they visit and delightful people they encounter have a life-changing effect on all the travelers, as Doreen grows to appreciate the simple life, Tim mellows, and even the pets pull together. Best of all, readers get to go along for the ride through forty-seven states in this often hilarious and always entertaining memoir, in which a boisterous marriage of polar opposites becomes stronger than ever.

Editorial Review

No editorial review at this time.


Chapter One: Dethroned

Prevost Princess
3 parts vodka
1 part peach schnapps
1 part raspberry liqueur
1 robust whine (optional)

Recline on couch; command husband to assemble and shake.

When my long-dreaded thirtieth birthday arrived, I really wasn't as upset as I imagined I'd be, for I had achieved a much more important milestone: my sartorial centennial. I owned one hundred pairs of shoes. Then, at age forty-four, I found myself trying to cram a mere half that number into a living space of 340 square feet. ... view entire excerpt...

Discussion Questions

1) What would you do if you could take a year off? How do you think it might change you? Is there a life lesson you'd like to learn? Is it hard to incorporate lessons learned while traveling or on vacation into your daily life? What could you do to improve that disconnect?

2) How would it be to spend 24/7 with your significant other for a year? Would a life on the road appeal to one of you more than the other? Why?

3) Doreen said she would “never, ever, EVER live on a bus.” She said the same thing about going to a nudist RV park. Are there things you thought you'd never do in your life, but ending up doing, anyway? How did they work out? Are there things you're certain you'll never do now? Why?

4) Are there any “things” you feel you couldn't live without? Why? Did Doreen's changing relationship with material possessions make you feel any differently about your own?

5) Discuss how Tim's experiences growing up may have contributed to his “working himself to death” and thus became the catalyst for the whole “bus thing.”

6) Doreen says she and Tim are “polar opposites.” How does that affect their relationship for better or worse? What do you think each sees in the other?

7) How did Doreen and Tim change during their trip and how did you see that change progress throughout the journey? Do you feel their relationship changed as well? What do you envision their future life will be like and how is that different than if they'd never done the bus thing?

8) Who do you think is the most inspirational person Doreen and Tim met or learned about on their trip? Did he or she make you think about doing something differently in your own life?

9) Did the book make you want to visit any particular place in it? Why?

10) The bus seemed to have a “will of its own.” How did Doreen and Tim's relationship with it change during their year-long adventure? What was the significance for each of them of the challenges it presented along the way?

11) Did your perception of psychiatrists change through reading this book? How did this memoir about married psychiatrists differ in its portrayal of the profession from that of pop culture movies and TV shows?

12) Why do you think Doreen included her martini recipes in the book? What did the recipes represent for her? What self-soothing traditions have you experienced in your own life?

13) Doreen writes of their dog, “Miles was all about simple pleasures: It was enough in life to have a bowl of food and a small, quiet place to himself, surrounded by people who loved him. Why ask for anything more?” And, that he could “teach me a lot.” What have you learned or what do you think you could learn from your pets?

14) The bus thing seems to have given the lives of all the travelers more balance. How do you think their future plans reflect this? Are you happy with the balance in your life and if not, what could you do differently?

15) Doreen “self-coronates” on their return. Do you think she deserved the promotion from Princess to Queen? What experiences during their year especially contributed to her elevated royal status? What obstacles have you overcome that you are most proud of?

Suggested by Members

Could you survive a year in close quarters with your husband?
What would you do if you could take a year off?
What was the funniest bit in the book?
by BSkol (see profile) 06/20/10

How had her life changed since she took the year off to travel when she returned home.
Did her husband have a different attitude towards his own work load once they returned to normal life.
What material possessions did she miss the most.
by thnxandyc (see profile) 03/05/10

What do you think of the 2 strikes and you're a dimwit rule? Any other good rules or attitudes that help a marriage?
by kpepper (see profile) 12/28/09

What is your favorite martini recipe from the book?
Why do you think this marriage of true opposites works so well?
What comment or story make you laugh the most?
by janvbarnes (see profile) 05/01/09

Notes From the Author to the Bookclub

Have you ever dreamed of "chucking it all"? Would you really do it?

My husband and I did - while living in a glorified tin can for a year - and I'd love to discuss our life-changing trip with your book group.

I've been in a wonderful book group myself for over a decade and would greatly enjoy visiting yours. (I just invited myself, didn't I? How rude! Just ignore me, if you like.) I've been "attending" many book groups by speakerphone all over the country and in Canada since Queen of the Road came out and it's been a lot of fun (at least for me) and we've had some fabulous discussions. So, please go to my website, www.QueenOfTheRoadTheBook.com , to arrange a "visit," see pictures and funny videos (yes, including the nudists) of our trip, read my blog and at the very least, get some martini recipes (now I have your attention).

Book Club Recommendations

Have the author call in by contacting her through her website: www.QueenOfTheRoadTheBook.com.
by agreen (see profile) 09/11/11

Member Reviews

Overall rating:
  "Great Discussion Book!"by alene g. (see profile) 09/29/14

Our book club agreed this was the funniest book we ever read, but it also had a lot of growth and even romance! We loved the relationship between the author and her husband. A really good discussion book... (read more)

  "A Royal Treat!"by malibu b. (see profile) 01/10/13

Our club loved this book. I think it's our favorite this year. We read a lot of memoirs and we all agreed this was one of the best. It's hilarious, fun, inspiring and you learn a lot about little known... (read more)

  "Queen of the Road"by Fran J. (see profile) 02/23/12

Our book club chose this for our first meeting. We all loved it and loved the author calling in. It's going to be hard to top this one.

  "One of Our Best Experiences"by arie g. (see profile) 09/11/11

We just had our bookclub a few nights ago and the author called in. Doreen was witty and thoughtful, answered all of our questions. Such a unique experience to discuss a book with the author... (read more)

  "Queen of the Road"by carla j. (see profile) 07/16/11

Our club loved this book. I think it's our favorite this year. We found ourselves reading our favorites lines to each other and laughing all over again. The best part, and the reason for 5 stars was the... (read more)

  "One of the Best Travel Memoirs We've Read"by Celia B. (see profile) 01/10/11

We read a lot of memoirs and we all agreed this was one of the best. It's hilarious, inspiring and you learn a lot about little known places in the US in a very enjoyable way. Then, there are the martinis...... (read more)

  "An Evening Fit for a Queen"by Adina P. (see profile) 12/27/10

This was our favorite book club meeting. We all got into the Queen spirit, made martinis from the book, and had a wonderful discussion. What's great about this book is that you can discuss the growth of... (read more)

  "Great Club Pick"by Karen C. (see profile) 10/25/10

This is the kind of book that makes you learn more about the other members in your group, even if you've been together for a while. We got into a great discussion of our dreams, fears while sampling the... (read more)

  "Best Travel Memoir Ever"by Beth S. (see profile) 06/20/10

Our club loved this book. We each laughed while reading it and reading parts to our husbands. Then, we laughed again reading parts to each other during our meeting. It was an especially good read after... (read more)

  "The best discussion, ever!"by Avid R. (see profile) 06/05/10

We all loved the book, and quoted a lot of lines to each other that were laugh out loud funny. We also enjoyed the inspirational part. Best of all, Doreen called into our club and was as entertaining and... (read more)

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