First We Quit Our Jobs: How One Work Driven Couple Got On The Road To A New Life

First We Quit Our Jobs: How One Work Driven Couple Got On The Road To A New Life

by Marilyn J. Abraham
     
 

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What happens when two executives leave their jobs, friends, and the city behind to hit the road in a twenty-seven foot RV? America the beautiful becomes a place of sights, foods, people, memories, and a little wisdom.

After fifty-two combined years in the corporate fast lane, Marilyn Abraham and her husband, Sandy MacGregor, embarked on an adventure that every

Overview

What happens when two executives leave their jobs, friends, and the city behind to hit the road in a twenty-seven foot RV? America the beautiful becomes a place of sights, foods, people, memories, and a little wisdom.

After fifty-two combined years in the corporate fast lane, Marilyn Abraham and her husband, Sandy MacGregor, embarked on an adventure that every work-driven professional dreams about but hardly ever has the courage to realize. They quit their jobs and hit the road in order to retrain themselves in the art of living. For almost a year, the couple traveled nearly 20,000 miles to thirty-one states, including Washington, Montana, Colorado, New Mexico, Tennessee, and through seven Canadian provinces to Alaska, in the hulking RV they named Sue.

More than just a travelogue, First We Quit Our Jobs is the story of recreating one's life and discovering what is real, what is true, and what is important. Filled with visions of Americana, this personal and touching memoir traces the author's search for meaning in this modern day.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Many contemplate dropping off the corporate fast track to seek a simpler way of life. Abraham and her husband, Sandy MacGregor, did just that, leaving their New York executive jobs behind as they hit the road in the RV they nicknamed Sue. After 15 years of climbing through the ranks of the publishing industry (Bantam to Ballantine to Dell to editor-in-chief at Prentice Hall and Simon & Schuster trade paperbacks), Abraham said to her boss, "I'm resigning." Ignoring the warnings of well-meaning friends, the couple outfitted Sue, established an e-mail connection and embarked on a 15,241-mile journey that took them through Canada to Alaska and down to New Mexico on their route back to New York. Retraining themselves in the art of living, they devoted time and energies not to paperwork but to the discovery of various foods, cultures, places, people and themselves. As a former book editor, Abraham knows how to edit herself, and her book is never boring, since it takes the stance that new vistas are not only just over the next hill but also just a page away. Throughout, she steers back to her main theme, a comparison of old and new ways of life: "Time rubberized. The trip was making me aware of the silliness of the concept of bite-size time. Time was big. When we nibbled away at it, chiseling out this appointment, that meeting, another lunch date, we had made it small." The book is both a travelogue, including historic as well as literary sites, and a food guide-with cookouts, farm stands, grocery stores, markets, regional foods and restaurants (with stops at some of the places found in Jane and Michael Stern's Roadfood). In sharing her thoughts with the reader, Abraham turns her roadside observations into an intimate memoir. Illustrations. (Feb.) FYI: The couple takes Sue back on the road for an eight-city book tour.
Library Journal
Abraham and her husband, Sandy, quit their New York City publishing jobs, rented a 30-foot recreational vehicle nicknamed "the Sue," and headed across the continent to Alaska and back on a four-month journey to rethink their lives. Along the way, they stopped in Edmonton (Canada), Fairbanks, Seattle, Santa Fe, and Memphis, as well as a host of scenic parks, campsites, and hot tubs. Despite warnings from friends and family, they found life on the road wonderfully successful. Lacking the humor and gentle exaggeration of Peter Mayle's A Year in Provence (LJ 4/1/90) and Bill Bryson's Notes from a Small Island (LJ 4/1/96), Abraham's work is marred by its uninspired description of insignificant events and people who appear two-dimensional, including Sandy. However, the narrative comes to life in Abraham's touching but brief reminiscences of her childhood (learning to cook after her mother's death, a visit to an Orthodox synagogue). For public libraries.-Linda M. Kaufmann, North Adams State Coll., Mass.
Kirkus Reviews
A heartfelt but ultimately tedious journey of discovery for two corporate execs who shuck the rat race and hit the road.

The whirl of publishing had finally gotten to Abraham (most recently vice president and editor in chief at Simon & Schuster Trade Paperbacks) and her husband, Sandy. They wanted to scale back, grab ahold of their lives. They bought an RV (Abraham never claims to be another Kerouac, and besides, Sandy had once contracted armpit crabs in an Alaskan dive, so they wanted a secure cocoon), rented out their home, and pointed west by northwest. What follows is the story of their trip from New York City to Alaska, then back to the East Coast. Abraham might have hoped that rubbing lunchtime shoulders with writers would transmit some of their magic to her, but it didn't. Her writing is self-conscious and clunky, though also disarmingly, agreeably frank, her regional impressions worn right there on her sleeve. She conveys an urbanite's surprised thrill at Manitoba's checkered plains and falls deeply in awe of Alaska's grandness, which leads her to tune in to the music of the spheres, to feel time expand. Abraham expands as well, delighting in the pleasures of her mate, food, and corporate-world-bashing. But as she tends south and east, the old bogeymen haunt her again: where to live, how to pay the bills. Westward she searched for circadian rhythms, eastward she scours real estate, the escapee becoming the wanabee. Colorado? Santa Fe? No longer kicked-back or wide-eyed, Abraham is as frantic to find a new home as she ever was back at the salt mines, the leaden prose whining and grating, her urgency without appeal.

Abraham the dreamer felt cut from honest cloth; Abraham the overachiever, who has won out by book's end, is a bad copy.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780440507574
Publisher:
Random House Publishing Group
Publication date:
02/01/1997
Pages:
252
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.50(d)

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