A true account of the author's travels and adventures as a company "spy" for the Greyhound Bus Company during the immediate post-World War II period....
|Title||:||a spy on the bus|
|Format Type||:||trade paperback|
|Number of Pages||:||368 Pages|
|Status||:||Available For Download|
|Last checked||:||21 Minutes ago!|
a spy on the bus Reviews
Blah! I couldn't finish this book in its entirety. Written from actual letters that she mailed home, it tells the true story of a young woman hired to spy on bus drivers and report on their driving skills, whether they pocketed fares, etc. Since it is told entirely through letters, it comes across as boring, after about 50 pages. This would have worked much better in a short story/short biography format.
I came across this book in the special advertising pages in The New York Review of Books for independent press publications, and wrangled a swap with the publisher for one of my own books. It probably wasn't worth it, because I never did finish this book. I gave it three stars anyway because it is, in its peculiar way, and, almost despite itself, occasionally very interesting. Margean Gladysz worked as a company spy on various bus lines back in the 1940s. In those days, passengers could flag the bus down on the road and paid the driver the fare. Obviously, the driver could (and often did) pocket the money himself, since there was no way to prove he didn't... unless someone reported him. Hence the bus spy, a regular job in those days. In the forties, there was no Interstate system, and, in the Midwest, where all this takes place, the roads might not even be paved. The letters that Gladysz wrote to her mother and father, one every day, since phone calls were too expensive, details the traveler's life: what her hotel rooms were like, what she ate in the diners and other eateries and what she paid for it; and what she saw out the bus windows. Unfortunately, there is far, far too much company gossip and a bit too much patting oneself on the back... all perfectly fine in a letter, but not in a book. Still, for anyone wanting a unique taste of Americana, this book can hardly be beat. And you'll weep when you read all the good stuff she ate, and for pocket change. No fast food then.
After just one year of college, the author took a job as an internal investigator for the Greyhound Bus Company and at age 18, traveled the United States in that capacity during the years 1947-48. It's an enlightening look at the morals and mores of an under-reported era - a time when a steak dinner costs $2.00 and cash was the only medium of exchange.The author's mother saved all her letters home, which became the foundation upon which this book was constructed. Newsman Jim Lehrer, a bus buff, wrote the introduction and encouraged Ms. Gladysz during the editing process.
This was a fun book for me, but not all of my fellow book club readers enjoyed it. I found it fascinating to see what would happen next in Margean's letters home. It is an autobiography of sorts. It's the letters home (only home, no replies) of a young woman who rode buses as an undercover inspector in the late 1940's. Because it is only her letters home, which her parents saved and she found 50 years later, it can be hard to read. Personally, I was so fascinated by the concept, her young age, and the people she met, I enjoyed it.
I find it difficult to put my finger on why, exactly, I liked this book as much as I did. But I did.I like the glimpse it provides into a world that is very different from my own, but also in that the world it describes is my world- I'm in the midwest, I ride Greyhound buses, and everybody knows the YMCA.I also found the format very easy to read; frequent chapter breaks as the letters end, funny little vignettes.