PEEPS – A Novel by Erin Gordon
As an avid reader, I typically jump at the chance to do a book review, particularly of course, as it relates to RVing. When I was asked to review PEEPS, a tale about a female podcaster who launches a solo RV trip across the country in search of meaning and answers, my initial inclination was to pass this on to a female writer. I decided not to, recognizing that perhaps I might try and challenge myself with what the literary world refers to as women’s fiction. After all, it is about RVing.
While women may be the initial buyers or gift recipients of this book, guys that will set aside their Clive Cussler and Dan Brown novels for the weekend will be rewarded with an engrossing and fast moving tale that will hit home far harder and closer than you will expect. Make no mistake, there are a couple of decidedly female moments in PEEPS, but they are either humorous or insightful, not uncomfortable.
Fifty-one year old podcaster Megan Gale Newlin, known simply as Meg, finds herself without parents, without a spouse, and without children at home. The protagonist in the story is her life itself; with its safe, mundane predictability. Meg is inspired to hit the road on a solo RV trip in search of her roots, her future, and new podcast guests.
Excellent Writing That Will Appeal To All
PEEPS is not a Harlequin romance, nor is it Clancy-esque in ad nauseum detail of minutia. Rather, PEEPS universally speaks to the adventurer in all of us…that yearning drive to reflect, refocus, and even replace our stagnant life with something new.
Author Erin Gordon does an amazing job with an efficiency of words that many could learn from. She quickly brings you up to speed on Meg’s life and the circumstances that generate her desire to hit the road in a small, Class C RV. The writing in PEEPS is clever, funny, descriptive, and again I’ll use the word efficient.
We’ve all read novels that have trouble getting started, hoping that it will get rolling quickly and get past the backstory. I felt none of that reading PEEPS, and in fact made a mental note that by the end of the first chapter, I was familiar with our hero, well engaged, and interested in what would happen next. Erin has the ability to tap into the reader’s psyche, causing us to think and care about the main character and her outcome immediately.
Podcasts – Celebrating The World In A Grain Of Sand
Throughout PEEPS, chapters are often closed with the RV podcast texts that Meg has “recorded.” These aren’t just fillers either. Each short podcast is interesting and reflective in its own right, stories within the story, if you will. They also serve to shape Meg’s thoughts and actions, and give you additional insight into the depth of Erin’s skillset as a writer.
The podcast, named “Peeps”, not only lends its title to the book, it serves to subtly act as a chronological guide of Meg’s journey as well. At difficult times, the podcast guests serve up wisdom and insight Meg needs. You’ll find yourself deeply impacted by a fictional podcast character in just a few pages of text. It’s really quite remarkable.
The seven questions asked by Meg in these fictional podcasts are noteworthy and thought provoking. I won’t spoil the read by listing them, but the most interesting one to me is, “Who is someone you never saw again?”
Erin has fun with this, constantly needing to explain what Meg means when she asks this question in the podcast interview. The answers to the other pivotal questions asked during the podcasts are so intriguing, I believe you could gather these into an interesting collection of their own.
PEEPS Is About RVing Too
PEEPS is also about RVing. It’s not long before Meg and an adopted shelter cat hit the road for a cross-country journey from California to New York. From that first, scary, aborted black tank dump and night in a Walmart parking lot to a luxury RV park on the east coast, there’s enough RV content to keep it real. You can tell Erin didn’t mail it in here too.
The RVing experiences feel authentic and on point. The story is particularly timely in a Covid world where many are reexamining their lives and priorities, hitting the road in an RV. Comparisons to Nomandland are inevitable, but the podcast angle and Meg’s journey to leave prosperous Santa Monica is by choice, a dichotomy to Nomandland’s plot.
PEEPS comes to a satisfying end. Those contemplating a solo RV road trip will be energized. Those already on one will be reaffirmed. Anyone with struggles similar to what Meg faces will be inspired.
For the rest of us just looking to appreciate great writing, PEEPS delivers on that as well. I keep coming back to the term rewarding. Erin’s work was just that and more. You can find PEEPS on Amazon and other sites. Be sure and visit Erin Gordon’s website too.
All around RV enthusiast who has been RVing for 7 years and enjoys trips with his wife and little dogs in their 43-foot diesel pusher.