Fact Checkers Anonymous, Part II
Like I said, mistakes and misinformation pull me out of a story faster than I can eat a handful of M&Ms -- and believe me, I can eat them pretty fast. I recently picked up the novel Outside of the Ordinary World by Dori Ostermiller. The opening grabbed me -- but her first flashback is set in 1968, involving a family moving from Chicago to California. They are traveling along I-80 in Nebraska. Whoa! I-80 was not completed across Nebraska until 1974. Yes, there were sections of I-80 open in 1968 -- but a family on the move from Chicago to California would probably not have opted to try to drive an incomplete road through the middle of the Great Plains. The still-preferred choice of travelers headed West in 1968 was the Mother Road, Route 66. My own family tooled along that fabulous highway in 1968 on the standard "Grand Canyon or bust" vacation. We attended a Sunday morning mass in Joplin, Missouri, gorged on Big Boy burgers in Amarillo, Texas, sweated and baked through New Mexico, and ogled the Painted Desert at sunset like the slack-jawed city-slickers we were.
So I guess I just couldn't accept the notion that this family in the novel would have been on some half-completed I-80 in the middle of Nebraska. Just wasn't happening. Again, where's an editor when you need one?!? I stopped reading, put the book back on the shelf and bought a copy of George Orwell's 1984 instead. Seems like a good time to revisit that world.
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