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“What the PCT is to Cheryl Strayed, the open road is to Brooks-Dalton.”—Cosmopolitan  A powerful memoir about a young woman whose passion for motorcycles leads her down a road all her own. At twenty-one-years-old, Lily Brooks-Dalton is feeling lost; returning to New England after three and a half years traveling overseas, she finds herself unsettled, unattached, and without “What the PCT is to Cheryl Strayed, the open road is to Brooks-Dalton.”—Cosmopolitan  A powerful memoir about a young woman whose passion for motorcycles leads her down a road all her own. At twenty-one-years-old, Lily Brooks-Dalton is feeling lost; returning to New England after three and a half years traveling overseas, she finds herself unsettled, unattached, and without the drive to move forward. When a friend mentions buying a motorcycle, Brooks-Dalton is intrigued and inspired. Before long she is diving headlong into the world of gearheads, reconsidering her surroundings through the visor of a motorcycle helmet, and beginning a study of motion that will help her understand her own trajectory. Her love for these powerful machines starts as a diversion, but as she continues riding and maintaining her own motorcycles, she rediscovers herself, her history, and her momentum. Forced to confront her limitations—new and old, real and imagined—Brooks-Dalton learns focus, patience, and how to navigate life on the road. As she builds confidence, both on her bike and off, she begins to find her way, ultimately undertaking an ambitious ride that leaves her strengthened, revitalized, and prepared for whatever comes next. Honest and lyrical, raw and thoughtful, Motorcycles I’ve Loved is a bold portrait of one young woman’s empowering journey of independence and determination.


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“What the PCT is to Cheryl Strayed, the open road is to Brooks-Dalton.”—Cosmopolitan  A powerful memoir about a young woman whose passion for motorcycles leads her down a road all her own. At twenty-one-years-old, Lily Brooks-Dalton is feeling lost; returning to New England after three and a half years traveling overseas, she finds herself unsettled, unattached, and without “What the PCT is to Cheryl Strayed, the open road is to Brooks-Dalton.”—Cosmopolitan  A powerful memoir about a young woman whose passion for motorcycles leads her down a road all her own. At twenty-one-years-old, Lily Brooks-Dalton is feeling lost; returning to New England after three and a half years traveling overseas, she finds herself unsettled, unattached, and without the drive to move forward. When a friend mentions buying a motorcycle, Brooks-Dalton is intrigued and inspired. Before long she is diving headlong into the world of gearheads, reconsidering her surroundings through the visor of a motorcycle helmet, and beginning a study of motion that will help her understand her own trajectory. Her love for these powerful machines starts as a diversion, but as she continues riding and maintaining her own motorcycles, she rediscovers herself, her history, and her momentum. Forced to confront her limitations—new and old, real and imagined—Brooks-Dalton learns focus, patience, and how to navigate life on the road. As she builds confidence, both on her bike and off, she begins to find her way, ultimately undertaking an ambitious ride that leaves her strengthened, revitalized, and prepared for whatever comes next. Honest and lyrical, raw and thoughtful, Motorcycles I’ve Loved is a bold portrait of one young woman’s empowering journey of independence and determination.

30 review for Motorcycles I've Loved: A Memoir

  1. 4 out of 5

    JDK1962

    This was a quick read, which was good, because I was pretty much out of patience with it by the time it ended. Ms. Brooks-Dalton can write gracefully, but (1) a 24 year-old should probably not be writing memoir, (2) a 24 year-old should not be writing memoirs about motorcycling when their motorcycling is limited to a few years of fairly limited country road riding and apparently one trip over 100 miles, and (3) if your memoir is mostly about family, don't do a bait-and-switch on your reader tell This was a quick read, which was good, because I was pretty much out of patience with it by the time it ended. Ms. Brooks-Dalton can write gracefully, but (1) a 24 year-old should probably not be writing memoir, (2) a 24 year-old should not be writing memoirs about motorcycling when their motorcycling is limited to a few years of fairly limited country road riding and apparently one trip over 100 miles, and (3) if your memoir is mostly about family, don't do a bait-and-switch on your reader telling them its about motorcycling. Ultimately, I didn't find much here that was new or keenly observed, and by the end of the ~250 pages, I was just as happy to see the narrator in my rear-view mirror, figuratively speaking. BTW, my perspective of the motorcycling aspect comes from ~20,000 miles on my most recent motorcycle, a Honda 919. There is also a BMW K100RT and a Honda 400CM in my past, both with lots of miles. The tenuous linkages to concepts from physics also felt pretty forced.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Corinna Fabre

    What I wouldn't give to be a motorcycle riding, adventure loving, travel goddess like author Lily Brooks-Dalton. Although the narration often bordered on self-grandiose navel-gazing, and the story often was weighed down by the merging of physics lessons with story morals, the book ultimately was a well-told coming of age story that made the reader feel involved and invested. I would have loved to have seen Lily be a little more introspective and hear more about her thinking and development but o What I wouldn't give to be a motorcycle riding, adventure loving, travel goddess like author Lily Brooks-Dalton. Although the narration often bordered on self-grandiose navel-gazing, and the story often was weighed down by the merging of physics lessons with story morals, the book ultimately was a well-told coming of age story that made the reader feel involved and invested. I would have loved to have seen Lily be a little more introspective and hear more about her thinking and development but overall, even if I couldn't relate to the motorcycles, I related so deeply to a young woman growing up and finding herself that I couldn't help but overlay my experiences onto hers.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Stephen

    The blurb on the cover says it all: What the Pacific Crest Trail became for Cheryl Strayed in Wild--a place to reflect, heal and find herself--Lily Brooks-Dalton finds in motorcycling. After leaving home to travel the world at 17, Lily returns to Vermont at 21 having lost her sense of self and purpose. She buys a small motorcycle and finds a freedom that allows her to collect herself and begin to live again. I know the feeling. A day on a bike always leaves me more centered. Worries get left beh The blurb on the cover says it all: What the Pacific Crest Trail became for Cheryl Strayed in Wild--a place to reflect, heal and find herself--Lily Brooks-Dalton finds in motorcycling. After leaving home to travel the world at 17, Lily returns to Vermont at 21 having lost her sense of self and purpose. She buys a small motorcycle and finds a freedom that allows her to collect herself and begin to live again. I know the feeling. A day on a bike always leaves me more centered. Worries get left behind somewhere on the road at least for awhile. Motorcycles is not as immersive as Wild but is still an enjoyable read if you like the genre.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Igrowastreesgrow

    A wonderful book about a young woman exploring life and living it. There is a definite love for her interests. No doubt there. However, the flow between her "present" or immediate past, her past, and the physics explanations, was not there. It was mismatched blocks of story glued together. I really liked the book overall though. Hope to read more from the author soon. A wonderful book about a young woman exploring life and living it. There is a definite love for her interests. No doubt there. However, the flow between her "present" or immediate past, her past, and the physics explanations, was not there. It was mismatched blocks of story glued together. I really liked the book overall though. Hope to read more from the author soon.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Julie

    Quickly, this book is a memoir of a young woman finding her way on the road of life. She tell us about her family, her travels, the ups, the downs, the winding road if you will...and how finding a passion for motorcycles strengthened her. It's also sprinkled with physics, which I found brilliant. It's cleverly written, it's raw, fresh and I want more books from Lily Brooks-Dalton. Yes, this book is a keeper. There are some beautiful life lessons in this memoir. The writing flows well. If you love Quickly, this book is a memoir of a young woman finding her way on the road of life. She tell us about her family, her travels, the ups, the downs, the winding road if you will...and how finding a passion for motorcycles strengthened her. It's also sprinkled with physics, which I found brilliant. It's cleverly written, it's raw, fresh and I want more books from Lily Brooks-Dalton. Yes, this book is a keeper. There are some beautiful life lessons in this memoir. The writing flows well. If you love personal journeys of discovery and growth, if you love adventure and obviously motorcycles, but hey, even if you don't have any affinity with motorcycles, it still reads beautifully.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Rich

    I was horrified when she bought a GL500 Interstate. Heavy, slow, ponderous -- but yes, with huge hard saddlebags. I figured the starter would give out on her, an engine-out-of-frame job and a notorious weak point. For years I wanted a CX and ended up with a GL for a summer, and it almost killed me with its gutlessness more than once. The Magna was a great find, especially for someone short of inseam. Short inseam pretty much sticks people with cruisers if they want to flat-foot it. I'm not a cru I was horrified when she bought a GL500 Interstate. Heavy, slow, ponderous -- but yes, with huge hard saddlebags. I figured the starter would give out on her, an engine-out-of-frame job and a notorious weak point. For years I wanted a CX and ended up with a GL for a summer, and it almost killed me with its gutlessness more than once. The Magna was a great find, especially for someone short of inseam. Short inseam pretty much sticks people with cruisers if they want to flat-foot it. I'm not a cruiser guy (I related to her lower back pain from riding a cruiser), preferring standards and ADV bikes like Lily's dad's V-Strom. If Lily had a good motorcycle friend, they could have helped her find a standard (like the CM450 she disassembled and never put back together -- Craigslist is full of these sad stories) and lower the front forks and get some shorter rear shocks. It would have helped with the back pain. Vast parts of this book were unrelated to motorcycle acquisition, experience, and the excruciating process of selling a bike, a friend -- sometimes a deeply flawed friend, but still a friend -- but it held my interest. It also reminded me what terrible people we are in our early 20's: flighty, making commitments then bailing, hurting people who care about us, and generally lacking in judgment. Apparently the discernment part of our brains isn't fully formed until 25. It made me happy I didn't live with a girlfriend in my teens or early 20's. She broke that Aussie's heart. We've all been there, on both sides of that equation, but she doesn't really explain what went wrong with that relationship. When we deeply wound someone, we owe it to them to figure out why. "Realized it was over," or "I'd lost myself," are not surrogates for true introspection. At some point, we have to ask if we're a healing or a hurting presence in this world -- and fix it if we're the latter. Finally, I can't go without being a little upset that Lily didn't have friends to help her get good riding gear. Riding without gloves is a pet peeve for me -- hands are amazingly intricate and useful things, just ask any hand surgeon that's had to reconstruct one after a motorcycle wreck. Your hand is worth a $40 pair of actual motorcycle gloves. Also, she rides like an idiot when she finds out a boy she likes is interested in someone else. Chill, please.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Laura

    A thoughtful and beautifully written memoir. Favorite quotes: As a woman traveling by herself I'd confused bravery with stupidity, and as a woman in a partnership I'd confused caution with cowardice. It's an equilibrium that takes practice, but on a motorcycle there's not much room for interpretation--some things are just easier to learn when the pavement is keeping score. Nothing strengthens determination quite like skepticism...The particular friction of someone else's disbelief or doubt, that ch A thoughtful and beautifully written memoir. Favorite quotes: As a woman traveling by herself I'd confused bravery with stupidity, and as a woman in a partnership I'd confused caution with cowardice. It's an equilibrium that takes practice, but on a motorcycle there's not much room for interpretation--some things are just easier to learn when the pavement is keeping score. Nothing strengthens determination quite like skepticism...The particular friction of someone else's disbelief or doubt, that chafing between what I think I can do and what someone else thinks I can do, is as infuriating as it is irresistible. A motorcycle is a vehicle of change, after all. It puts the wheels beneath a midlife crisis, or a coming-of-age saga, or even just the discovery of something new, something you didn't realize was there. It provides the means to cross over, to transition, or to revitalize; motorcycles are self-discovery's favorite vehicle. Though I'd lost touch with them while I'd been abroad, when I returned they were still there, playing noise music or making weird art, wearing t-shirts as thin and frayed as spiderwebs, shaving rarely, swimming often, working just enough to buy food and beer, exactly how I remembered.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Yana Tallon-Hicks

    There's nothing better than a bad-ass young person throwing herself into the abyss of the unknown and the self-taught. Even better when that young person is a woman and she's throwing herself at male-dominated machinery and male-dominated storylines. Brooks-Dalton's willingness to pull the foundation out from under herself over and over again in the quest for a better understanding of her own strengths and abilities is something all young women can relate to and learn from. I closed the back cover There's nothing better than a bad-ass young person throwing herself into the abyss of the unknown and the self-taught. Even better when that young person is a woman and she's throwing herself at male-dominated machinery and male-dominated storylines. Brooks-Dalton's willingness to pull the foundation out from under herself over and over again in the quest for a better understanding of her own strengths and abilities is something all young women can relate to and learn from. I closed the back cover of this book inspired to question what I've taken for granted and pumped up to take on new challenges both physical and emotional.

  9. 5 out of 5

    SAM.C

    Lily Brooks-Dalton uses physics, wit and a unique voice to paint a nuanced picture of female power that I haven't seen elsewhere. By my reading, this memoir subverts certain coming-of-age tropes and demonstrates that strength and transformation don't need to happen through brute force or melodrama, even when some of her experiences and relationships attempt to invite those qualities in. She shows us there are other paths, and she takes them. Reading this felt like being in motion and when I fini Lily Brooks-Dalton uses physics, wit and a unique voice to paint a nuanced picture of female power that I haven't seen elsewhere. By my reading, this memoir subverts certain coming-of-age tropes and demonstrates that strength and transformation don't need to happen through brute force or melodrama, even when some of her experiences and relationships attempt to invite those qualities in. She shows us there are other paths, and she takes them. Reading this felt like being in motion and when I finished it I had the desire to get back on and keep going. Beautiful book.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Hannah Garber

    Meh. I mean, I really wanted to like this book. I only bothered to finish it because I have good memories of the day I acquired this book and I’m weirdly sentimental (which is why I like memoirs). I may even drop this down to one star, considering I just wasted 10 minutes trying to do a “What I Liked” section for this review and all I could come up with was “ummm...the cover art?” Here’s what didn’t work. I picked this book up a few years ago, expecting a book that chronicles the author’s experi Meh. I mean, I really wanted to like this book. I only bothered to finish it because I have good memories of the day I acquired this book and I’m weirdly sentimental (which is why I like memoirs). I may even drop this down to one star, considering I just wasted 10 minutes trying to do a “What I Liked” section for this review and all I could come up with was “ummm...the cover art?” Here’s what didn’t work. I picked this book up a few years ago, expecting a book that chronicles the author’s experience over time with a variety of motorcycles, each one representing a different phase of her life. I eagerly marked some quotes in the first couple of chapters, thinking that it would become a tale of discovery—the author finding empowerment on her bikes, reveling in her own badassery, and flipping the bird at all the men who told her she was “too small,” “too feminine,” “so cute,” “that’s not for girls.” That’s a story I would have related to and been able to enjoy. What this book actually was? A disappointing narrative of a few years out of a privileged, white 20-something’s life. She loves/rides exactly two bikes during this time period, although she technically owns four. However, she neglects one in a snowdrift and later destroys it for parts and another is so large that she eats shit on a road in front of a bunch of people and promptly sells it. At the end of the very short memoir, she sells her bike and appears to move on. So basically, I read a 250-page story about a phase where a girl owned a couple of motorcycles that she might not have loved very much, after all? In the acknowledgments, the author says the book is “as much about family as it is about motorcycles.” The family element was all but missing in this story, though! With the exception of a single road trip she takes with her father (which she narrates while interspersing the story with irrelevant and confusing references to her travels to India and Australia), we don’t get to spend much time with the author’s family members at all. There’s also the weird references to 100-level physics terms which I though were so contrived. The author knows nothing about physics but proceeded to name each chapter after a physics term, use that term in a very forced manner to try and relate it to what’s happening in the chapter, and overall this became very trite and predictable after about three chapters. I think this memoir needed to marinate for a bit. If this story was told by a still-motorcycle-loving Brooks-Dalton, say, two decades later, I think this could have been a very well-developed story. The lessons learned and the nostalgic/emotional elements that I look for in a good memoir would come more naturally had the author been a bit more removed from the events she’s telling us about. I think I know what the author was trying to go for with this story, and I know the concept and the point she’s trying to get across is good, but I think she wrote it too soon. Had she waited a few decades to put this story on paper, I think it would have meant more to her and the audience, we might have had a few more motorcycles to pass the time by, and it would have been clear what impact these bikes had on the author’s life (and maybe we could have done away with the crash course in physics).

  11. 5 out of 5

    Lee

    I absolutely loved Good Morning Midnight and so having been a motorcyclist for 20 years I bought this book. Usually I peruse the Little Free Community Libraries that are in my local neighborhoods. The thing that I most loved about the book was re-living my own biking adventures, remembering many that were sleeping in the recesses of my mind. It’s now been about 18 years since I sold my beast of a Virago 750 to a kid I worked with on the condition that he promise not to die on it. I’m willing to I absolutely loved Good Morning Midnight and so having been a motorcyclist for 20 years I bought this book. Usually I peruse the Little Free Community Libraries that are in my local neighborhoods. The thing that I most loved about the book was re-living my own biking adventures, remembering many that were sleeping in the recesses of my mind. It’s now been about 18 years since I sold my beast of a Virago 750 to a kid I worked with on the condition that he promise not to die on it. I’m willing to bet he still rides. I realized while reading this that I’m not overly fond of memoirs, and I agree with the reviewer who said that a 24 year old really isn’t ready to write one. My real issue with reading this book is the author’s diving into the science of motorcycles and their operation and then relating it to her life. Chapter titles like Acceleration, Velocity, Power, Vibration and Propulsion reveal her intentions. Even how she told parts of her life in relationship to these forces felt choppy. Brooks-Dalton writes excellent prose. I highly recommend Good Morning Midnight. It was one of my favorite books in the last few years, and I look forward to reading her future fiction.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Stephen Groenewegen

    Lily Brooks-Dalton writes about a short period in her life - roughly between the ages of 21 and 25 - when she returned to the US from living overseas and purchased her first motorcycles. The book's title is apt, as it's as much a personal story about her life, adventures and family as it is about bikes. Each chapter is named for a physics concept (force, velocity, inertia) that she relates to the workings of a motorcycle but also an aspect of her story. It's not as clunky as it sounds, and the bi Lily Brooks-Dalton writes about a short period in her life - roughly between the ages of 21 and 25 - when she returned to the US from living overseas and purchased her first motorcycles. The book's title is apt, as it's as much a personal story about her life, adventures and family as it is about bikes. Each chapter is named for a physics concept (force, velocity, inertia) that she relates to the workings of a motorcycle but also an aspect of her story. It's not as clunky as it sounds, and the biking metaphors are illuminating rather than cringeworthy. While I was attracted to the book to learn about her experience with motorcycles, I wasn't disappointed by the balance of the non-bike content.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Kimi Ceridon

    I wanted to like this book. There are many reasons I should relate to it. I am a mechanical engineer and technically-minded. I started riding in the last few years and Motorcycling helped me transition through a tough time in my life. And I live in Boston, so much of this was set in my backyard. Unfortunately, I found myself angrily arguing with the book through the whole thing. Clearly, the audience for this book is not someone well versed on physics, mechanics, motorcycles or long distance moto I wanted to like this book. There are many reasons I should relate to it. I am a mechanical engineer and technically-minded. I started riding in the last few years and Motorcycling helped me transition through a tough time in my life. And I live in Boston, so much of this was set in my backyard. Unfortunately, I found myself angrily arguing with the book through the whole thing. Clearly, the audience for this book is not someone well versed on physics, mechanics, motorcycles or long distance motorcycle trips. That said, I am not sure who it is for. There is too much nerding out to hold a reader looking for the "Eat, Pray, Love" of motorcycles and too little self-reflection or growth for the reader looking for a new "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintence" and not enough momentum for the "Wild" set. First, the author has only a marginal grasp of the many physics concepts she introduces. She must have made it through Physics 101 with rote memorization. When she tries to explain physics to the lay person with metaphors and analogies, most miss the mark. I focused on thermodynamics in graduate school and my nerd brain was so angered by the wrongness of many concepts that it detracted from the places where she had beautiful writing. Second, I strongly question the writer's riding ability. She is reckless and dangerous. I certainly hope she has taken more skills courses and developed better safety habits not just for her own safety, but also for the safety of others on the road, especially us motorcyclists. She doesn't wear all the safety gear. She rides in unsafe conditions. She doesn't looks at forecasts. She buys bikes way outside her abilities. She keeps her bike in bad repair and when a man tells her it is unsafe she rails against him and calls him sexist. At least she wears a helmet because she drops her motorcycle so many times in stupid situations it's scary. Then, she waves it off with the old addage "there's two kinds of riders, those who have dropped their bike and those who will." That is generally true, but in the author's case it should be "there's two kinds of riders, those who learn from their drops and those who don't." She doesn't. I was especially annoyed by her "feud" with Roy. After an entire chapter about friction and the dangers in the transition from static to kenetic friction, she completely forgets this lesson with her bald tires. Tires that she had been riding on continuously while avoiding inspection because she knew they were bald. Then, when Roy tells her what she already knows and says she shouldn't ride it, she chalks it up to sexism. What?!? As a rider, my top priority is my safety and in this case, even if he was an outwardly, raging sexist pig (which did not come through in this book at all), I would value my life and wellbeing over my righteous indignation. That is in my best interest. Third, this ride to Florida. Within 3 months of getting my license, I started a solo ride from California to Massachusetts. While I might have been extremely cautious in my preparation, packing, route selection, gear selection and safety equipment, the author is so far on the other end of the spectrum that she is dangerous. Riding in downpours on highways in cotton clothes and non-armored pants, jacket or shoes and continuing even after the water is dangeously deep, the spray is compromising your visibility and you get so cold that your abilities are compromised is stupid. I know she said the rain was sudden, but she also said she checked email on a computer which means she could have looked at a weather forecast. I know she said she kept going because she "had no choice." That's what good planning is about, knowing your choices when the original plan falls apart. Over my 6000 miles across the country not once did I find myself in a "no choice but to be dangerous" situation. I could go on, but my overarching thought is as far as memoirs go, this one fails at one of the key features of a memoir - growth of the narrator through reflection. The physics is atrocious, but the most unforgivable part of this memoir is that she doesn't take the time to reflect on these moments of bad decisions, drama fabricated from false outrage or general stupidity to grow then connect with universal lessons. If this was about getting over a breakup, it misses. If this was about learning from motorcycling mishaps, it misses. If this was about self discovery through learning to motorcycle, it misses.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Biblio Files (takingadayoff)

    Riding a motorcycle is one way to get from point to point, but it isn't the safest. It is to many, the most fun, most exhilarating. Although part of the appeal is being outside feeling the wind and the sun, a very real part of the excitement is the danger. Every biker falls off the bike at some point, and if they're lucky, with only minor injuries. Get back on the bike and keep riding. Lily Brooks-Dalton tells of her transition from young adulthood to full adulthood in Motorcycles I've Loved. Whe Riding a motorcycle is one way to get from point to point, but it isn't the safest. It is to many, the most fun, most exhilarating. Although part of the appeal is being outside feeling the wind and the sun, a very real part of the excitement is the danger. Every biker falls off the bike at some point, and if they're lucky, with only minor injuries. Get back on the bike and keep riding. Lily Brooks-Dalton tells of her transition from young adulthood to full adulthood in Motorcycles I've Loved. When she returned from several years of overseas travel, she drifted from home to home, job to job. Her only constant in that phase of life was her new found love of motorcycles. You don't have to be a motorcycle fan to enjoy the book. Brooks-Dalton is a good storyteller and even when she's describing the inner workings of her latest bike, it's interesting. The New England characters and scenic backroads also add to the story. Although the book is categorized as a memoir, it also reads like a travel story, with flashbacks to Brooks-Dalton's pre-motorcycle life in Australia and elsewhere. It all leads up to an accident-filled road trip and the beginning of a new chapter in her life. I'm looking forward to reading more by Lily Brooks-Dalton.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Alex

    Owning a bike is indeed a love affair, and I can recall the unique giddy feeling that each of my motorcycles has instilled in me. At first there is the intense attraction, the fear and awkwardness of the early stages, and then the effortless joy of being in tune. In her memoir, Lily Brooks-Dalton does a nice job capturing these feelings, and describing how motorcycle came to fill a void in her life and challenged her to be a more complete and fulfilled person. Brooks-Dalton has followed an intere Owning a bike is indeed a love affair, and I can recall the unique giddy feeling that each of my motorcycles has instilled in me. At first there is the intense attraction, the fear and awkwardness of the early stages, and then the effortless joy of being in tune. In her memoir, Lily Brooks-Dalton does a nice job capturing these feelings, and describing how motorcycle came to fill a void in her life and challenged her to be a more complete and fulfilled person. Brooks-Dalton has followed an interesting path. She took off to travel the world in her teens, and at 21 returned home and began college, as well as her love affair with bikes. She is young, and though I don't think one needs to be a certain age to write a memoir, some of the wisdom here does come across as a little wide-eyed. Nonetheless, this was an enjoyable read, picking up in the tradition of Melissa Holbrook-Peirson's The Perfect Vehicle. Women seem much more adept at writing about bikes in a way that doesn't come down to, "I rode from X to Y. It was awesome. Then I rode from Y to Z. That was more awesome." I look forward to seeing what Brooks-Dalton will do next.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Andrea

    I received an ARC of this book from a Goodreads First-Reads giveaway. I don't think I've ever admitted this before but when I read ZEN AND THE ART OF MOTORCYCLE MAINTENANCE as a teenager, I skipped everything but the motorcycle parts. I'm a lot older now, but I had a similar inclination to skip the physics portions of this book. I felt the motorcycle theme was strong enough without throwing the physics lectures in. I suspect the intent was to tie the book together but I found it distracting and u I received an ARC of this book from a Goodreads First-Reads giveaway. I don't think I've ever admitted this before but when I read ZEN AND THE ART OF MOTORCYCLE MAINTENANCE as a teenager, I skipped everything but the motorcycle parts. I'm a lot older now, but I had a similar inclination to skip the physics portions of this book. I felt the motorcycle theme was strong enough without throwing the physics lectures in. I suspect the intent was to tie the book together but I found it distracting and unnecessary. I really liked reading about the author's travel experiences and her growing attachment to motorcycles. The descriptions of her family and friends were interesting and I had a sense of who those people were. There was a depth to these characterizations that did not extend to the author herself. I felt like I knew everyone around her better than I knew her. All in all, I enjoyed the book. I envy and respect the way the author chose to stay true to herself and pursue what made her happy.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Krista Varela Posell

    As a woman who has also loved motorcycles, I was psyched to read this memoir. While there were many things I could relate to, and even moments I had where I thought "I should have written this," I was ultimately disappointed with the structure of the book as a whole. There are sections that jump around in time, which confused me at a few points, but I also felt the structure didn't serve the book in terms of the emotional notes the writer was trying to hit. The relationship that she had while ab As a woman who has also loved motorcycles, I was psyched to read this memoir. While there were many things I could relate to, and even moments I had where I thought "I should have written this," I was ultimately disappointed with the structure of the book as a whole. There are sections that jump around in time, which confused me at a few points, but I also felt the structure didn't serve the book in terms of the emotional notes the writer was trying to hit. The relationship that she had while abroad is alluded to for most of the book, but never really investigated fully. She doesn't really talk about it until the last 30 pages, and even then, the ex-boyfriend wasn't a fully developed character. To really understand the narrator's draw to bikes and their impact on her, I think the relationship needed to be more deeply excavated. It was almost as if she just didn't want to go there, but by doing so, we're robbed of some of the payoff. I really wanted to get behind this one, but if I were an editor I think I would have gutted it and retooled it entirely.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Patricia Ann

    I loved reading Lily Brooks-Dalton "Motorcycles I've Loved" ! I want to give it as gifts to all young people I know. The integration of principles of physics with the messages of self-insight and self-discovery was absolutely brilliant. I thought her descriptions and explanations of physics principles were so well done and when tied in as the theme of the chapters that it could inspire many . My personal favourite is the chapter on Power, and this quote: "...the most valuable thing I learned was I loved reading Lily Brooks-Dalton "Motorcycles I've Loved" ! I want to give it as gifts to all young people I know. The integration of principles of physics with the messages of self-insight and self-discovery was absolutely brilliant. I thought her descriptions and explanations of physics principles were so well done and when tied in as the theme of the chapters that it could inspire many . My personal favourite is the chapter on Power, and this quote: "...the most valuable thing I learned was how to work. How to set aside distractions and absorb knowledge; how to be unquenchably curious . " I kept thinking how much more empowered teen women would feel after reading this book. Thanks to Goodreads for awarding me this book.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Elizabeth Miller

    Artfully worded story about motorcycles, physics, and the Quest of Finding Home when "home" isn't the nursery school version. A gem. Artfully worded story about motorcycles, physics, and the Quest of Finding Home when "home" isn't the nursery school version. A gem.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Summer

    I simply cannot stomach memoirs written by young privileged white people.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Jane Carter

    To use a motorcycle metaphor, I had a lot of false starts with this book, but once the engine turned over it was a delightful read. I had to get over a lot of my own issues before I started to enjoy it. It is the memoir of someone in their late-twenties looking back at their early twenties, and I wondered whether the author had enough life experience to impart any meaningful lessons with the reader. She also had an unconventional young adult life, living alone in Ireland, India, and Australia al To use a motorcycle metaphor, I had a lot of false starts with this book, but once the engine turned over it was a delightful read. I had to get over a lot of my own issues before I started to enjoy it. It is the memoir of someone in their late-twenties looking back at their early twenties, and I wondered whether the author had enough life experience to impart any meaningful lessons with the reader. She also had an unconventional young adult life, living alone in Ireland, India, and Australia all before her twenties, and part of me felt jealous that someone could live such an exciting life. That was the adventure I wanted but never had, and again I put down the book in frustration. I also had my own cross-country motorcycle trip to plan, and Brooks-Dalton's experiences were so close to my own that it seemed odd to read a book about what I was going through myself. I wanted to experience it all on my own terms. Now that my own motorcycle adventure is over, I was able to pick the book up again and, at last, it was enjoyable. It triggered a lot of memories for me, and the physics metaphors the author uses to organize the book took on new meaning as I examined my own life and came to terms with my experiences. I hope this book finds any young person who is interested in taking an adventure or dreams of riding a motorcycle--I'm not sure if it has wide appeal beyond that. I'm glad there are voices in the motorcycling community that don't fit the baby-boomer Harley-rider stereotypes, and we need more of them. It also inspired me to place more value on my own experiences, no matter how conventional, because they are worth reflection and contemplation.

  22. 4 out of 5

    calico Rosenberg

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. the beginnning was just SO good... but then nothing happens, she overdoes the physics metaphors and lessons (and this from someone who loves physics and especially loves math and science incorporated into beautiful prose). it becomes boring before it stops being beautiful and ends with various recounted and disjointed tales at an apparent attept to fill up space. she kept us in the moment very few times-im thinking of when the guy talkes to ehr at the gas station , ro when she flips hen she just the beginnning was just SO good... but then nothing happens, she overdoes the physics metaphors and lessons (and this from someone who loves physics and especially loves math and science incorporated into beautiful prose). it becomes boring before it stops being beautiful and ends with various recounted and disjointed tales at an apparent attept to fill up space. she kept us in the moment very few times-im thinking of when the guy talkes to ehr at the gas station , ro when she flips hen she just starts out on her too big bike. and shes pretty repeptive about a lot of things, particularly her brother (who i assume was giventhe alias 'phineus' after phineus gauge, the infamous neurological patient)

  23. 5 out of 5

    Rachel Dows

    Oh this one. This was a bad idea to read during my first summer without a motorcycle in a few years. I miss it. I want to buy a new one. Brooks-Dalton captures the freedom, the danger, the fine line of riding with ease. This is not an incredibly well-written memoir, but it is perfect for what it is. The writing is simply young, as is the girl on the motorcycle.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Scott

    Excellent book on the rewards and challenges of the way of the motorcycle, with the extra challenges of doing it from scratch as a total novice. Thoroughly enjoyed this memoir, it was poignant and emotional, interesting, funny and well written. I am a motorcycle enthusiast however, which may have increased my enjoyment of this book.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Julie Warner

    Lily's memoir was a beautiful story of a young woman developing her identity during a motorcycle roadtrip. Lily seamlessly integrates beautiful motorcycle and physics metaphors through her self-discovery journey. Lily's memoir was a beautiful story of a young woman developing her identity during a motorcycle roadtrip. Lily seamlessly integrates beautiful motorcycle and physics metaphors through her self-discovery journey.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Matthew Burns

    This book should be read by every male Harley rider to dissuade them from elitist or chauvinistic behavior. Brooks-Dalton tells a great story where the love of two wheels has no brand-name or gender. This book made me want to get out and ride.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Jeff Loquist

    This book makes me want to get on my bike and ride across the country. I think that's all that needs to be said. This book makes me want to get on my bike and ride across the country. I think that's all that needs to be said.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Julie

    I loved the humor and life lessons along the way in this story. I liked that she was willing to take a risk

  29. 4 out of 5

    Ellen Gordon

    Yawn I wanted to read more by this author after reading Good Night Midnight but I didn’t find any of the magic here. I guess she had to cut her teeth somewhere...

  30. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

    At the time when I read it, I thought it was pretty good, but the more I've been able to think about it the more I enjoyed it. Definitely a great book for someone who is just venturing into the world of motorcycles, but a more experienced rider should be able to look back on when they bought their first bike or rode one for the first time, and laugh at how wonderfully Brooks-Dalton captured those feelings of exaltation during the first few years of riding. I love her writing style and cannot wai At the time when I read it, I thought it was pretty good, but the more I've been able to think about it the more I enjoyed it. Definitely a great book for someone who is just venturing into the world of motorcycles, but a more experienced rider should be able to look back on when they bought their first bike or rode one for the first time, and laugh at how wonderfully Brooks-Dalton captured those feelings of exaltation during the first few years of riding. I love her writing style and cannot wait to read her latest novel, Good Morning, Midnight.

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