Chasing the Strawberry Moon
Patsy Schwartz needs to get away from her home in Minnesota. Her father intends to marry her off to the sheriff’s son, Rubin, just to secure his loyalty as they enter into some shady dealings with a Chicago mobster. Not one to leave her best friend all alone to hitchhike across the country, Virgie decides she must accompany Patsy on this adventure. And once they find the perfect opportunity to escape, they’re off!
…Granted they don’t wear the right hitchhiking clothes or shoes… and they don’t really have a concrete plan laid out, but as soon as they grab a ride from a preacher, they’re on their way… and in the wrong direction. Still, Patsy and Virgie aren’t going to let such a little setback get in the way of their running away to Hollywood to become famous! Soon enough, they’re on someone else’s truck, heading back to where they started… with their spare underwear stolen. Seems that the universe is conspiring to tire them out, and send these girls home with their tails between their legs. Fortunately, before one of them can truly change her mind about this whole running away business, a friendly (albeit, hard of hearing woman) stops to give them a ride west.
It’s hard to tell whether Patsy and Virgie are the luckiest girls alive, or the most unfortunate. To sum it up in Virgie’s words: “The fun just keeps on a-comin’. Think I’ll make a list of experiences I don’t need to repeat: the groper, the flasher, the randy preacher, the underwear pilferer, and now, the crasher. We sure know how to pick em.” Yet, every time they are down on their luck, someone comes to save the day: whether they are tired and starving, or about to be devoured by a bear, there is sure to be a good Samaritan and friendly stranger to lend a helping hand, a warm bath, and a proper bed to sleep in.
Although for Virgie, this is simply a way of providing her best friend with some moral support, this trip out West holds a lot more meaning for Patsy: “I love life on the road. For the first time I can remember, I feel like I’m breathing air that somebody else hasn’t blown in my face.” As her determination shows, Patsy is on a quest for freedom. She is not one to lie down, and watch her life unfold before her, without having a say. She takes action, she grabs her bags, and she marches forward come rain, shine, gropers, preachers, or Communists. There’s nothing that could possibly stand in the way of these two friends facing all odds together… except, of course, for a handsome man’s attention.
In Chasing the Strawberry Moon – Hitchhiking (for Girls), Judith A. Grout enhances the true story of her mother-in-law, Patricia Paterson (nee Schwartz) and her best friend, as they journeyed across the western United States as amateur hitchhikers. Despite their various trials, tribulations, and troubles thumbing their way from one county to another, Patsy and Virgie learn about the true meaning of friendship: someone who won’t leave your side in spite of sprained arms, hunger pangs, or nights spent sleeping among the cattle. Whether conspiring together, or nursing their bruised egos far apart, these two friends learn to “hang on to the people you care about, especially those who care back.” After all, it’s not every day your best friend volunteers to run across multiple state lines with you while being chased by a deputy sheriff and a mobster.
In the end, Chasing the Strawberry Moon is a vividly and beautifully narrated coming-of-age story, that fills us all with wanderlust for the places we’ve never seen and the times we wished we’d lived, teaching us along the way, “the quest [is] more important than the achievement of the goal.”
|Page Count||484 pages|
|Publisher||Judith A Grout|
|Bookshop.org||Buy this Book|