Friday, May 24, 2013

Friday Fun~ Book Review of Letters to Zerky

As you all know I have a tough time reading since my stroke. It's not that I can't read, but I'm much slower at it when it's on pages rather than electronic or audio formats. Along comes Bill Raney with a request. Would I review his book on my blog? It was only available in hardbound, but he would send me a copy. I thought sure, why not.

I had heard great things about this book so I waited in anxious anticipation for it to arrive. I had a few health stumbling blocks with my husband and myself, but I finally got to read every word. It was well worth the minutes I could grab during the months I read it. I closed it begrudgingly each and every time when my attention was needed elsewhere.

Of course I'm talking about Letters to Zerky: A Father's Legacy to a Lost Son...and a Road Trip Around the World by Bill Raney.

Genre Nonfiction/memoir/autobiographical
ISBN 978-0-9821384-0-3

This is one book I probably wouldn't have grabbed off the shelves in the bookstore, but I would have been mistaken in so many ways! The halfway draw for me personally was he was traipsing around the world as I was during the same time, although under different circumstances.

The Blurb
Both a memoir and a memorial, these collected letters and diary entries recount one family’s adventurous journey in 1967 attempting to drive around the world in a VW bus. Not intended as a book at the time of the writing, the intimate and poignant story details the family’s travels through Europe, the Middle East, and into Asia, challenging preconceptions about different cultures and illuminating how one-year-old Zerky had a magical effect on everyone they met along the way. The book features maps and pictures of the trek yet is more than just a travelogue; Zerky and his mother died shortly after the trip and this narrative serves as tribute to their lives.

Available HERE

This book is a powerful and wonderful journey of a family road tripping through Europe,the Middle East, and Asia. It's heart wrenching sad considering you know up front that Bill looses his son and his wife, but still you read on and experience the adventure with them on their journey.

Many of us dream of backpacking across Europe, but here's somebody who actually did it with wife, infant son, and a dachshund named Tarzan in tow in a VW Bus for thirteen months. Written in the free spirit, hippie style, the descriptions are so vivid the reader can place themselves there every step of the way.

I could see myself in Greece, Germany, India, Thailand, France, Iran and assorted other places with him. I was reminded on my own first impressions of those countries. In fact, we were in India at the same time and my memories came flooding back through his words.

Included are breathtaking photographs of the countries they visited with the family in the forefront. This is more than a travel diary. It's a legacy of love and remembrance, of joy and grief, and life at its best and worse. If I gave stars, it would rate a seven on a five star rating system. I'll give it a strong must read.

Now, Bill travels in a new VW bus to advertise his book. Life does come full circle.

Bill Raney's contact info

When I was researching this blog, (yes, I actually research my blog topics) I stumbled across this on youtube...enjoy.


  1. Not my style of read but glad you were able to enjoy it.

  2. This sounds somewhat interesting! Thanks for the introduction.

  3. Sounds fascinating! Thanks for the review. :)

  4. Thanks for your complimetary review, J.L.
    --Bill Raney, Author of "Letters to Zerky."


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