The Lincoln Highway

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I read the hard back, listened to the audio, and also had the eBook.  It is worth noting that in the actual book there are some real pictures, like on page 268 when Woolly is looking at the newspaper.   There is also a black bar in place of the words "closed the coffin" when a character lays down in a coffin to avoid a tornado. (Pg. 332)  I enjoyed the male voice on the audio; it sounded very familiar and thus very comforting.  I was not fond of the female who read Sally.  She definitely sounded like she was from Nebraska but the voice was a little huskier than I pictured Sally.  I enjoyed Sally more in print and often found myself agreeing with her and identifying with her sentiments, especially those about men - even if she was feeling the frustrations towards her father. (Pg. 381-382)

I enjoyed this book because, even though it was long and had a multitude of characters, it was straightforward and easy to follow for the most part.  It did take me 4 1/2 pages to figure out that Abacus, when he had his own chapter one time, was Professor Abernathy.

On a scale of 1 - 5 (5 being a lot of examples/instances):







Sex - 

Religion - At an orphanage run by nuns, stained glass windows show Jesus' resurrection. (ePg. 118) The nuns preach "compassion before prayers". (ePg. 120)   The idea of the Resurrection seen through children's eyes. (ePg. 126)  Duchess stole a car because he thought it was God's plan for him. (ePg. 134) A curse. (Pg. 185)  Ulysses worries that his actions during war prevent him from entering a church. (ePg. 228)  Pastor John has a change of heart.  Ulysses and Billy discuss whether God abandons us at times. (Pg. 330)  Sally prays. (Pg. 384)  Sally offers her opinions on the Episcopal church and lies to a rector. (Pg. 460)

Gruesome - a Pastor hits a child. (ePg. 217)   A man gets thrown off a train, literally. (ePg. 220)  Suicide by hanging (Pg. 350)  A second suicide.

Suspense - What would happen after two boys left the other two at the orphanage? (ePg. 121)  How would Emmett get the car back after Duchess gave it away. (ePg. 306) Would Emmett get out of the room with Charity and back to Billy?  Would Duchess take care of Billy?  What was the deal with the gunshots heard at Sarah's house? What is on Woolly's note? (ePg. 497)   Is it a problem that Woolly finished a bottle of medicine? (ePg. 500) Where did Billy go out the window of the bathroom?

Morality - scantily clad women. (Pg. 391-393)

Traditional - F*** word. (ePg. 303 & 304)

Discussion Questions

What did you think about the Resurrection viewed through the eyes of children?  The disciples thought their eyes were playing tricks on them, but the children looked upon Jesus without a trace of doubt. (ePg. 126)

Did you agree with Sally and Billy that Billy should go with Emmett to get the car in New York? (Pg. 129)

Did you know what the difference was between a pound of flour and a pound of crackers? (Ch. 8)

What was the medicine Woolly took?  Lithium?  Should there have been more explanation of it?  

Did you expect Sally's dad to buy the farm?

What happens to Emmett, Billy and Sally?  Do they get to California?  Do they find Mrs. Watson?  Do Emmett and Sally get romantic?

Did you have a favorite book in childhood like Billy's red book?  Share your favorite toy store memories like Woolly at FAO Schwarz. (Ch. 4)  Recall your first circus visit.

Why did the chapter numbers go backwards? 

Which character changed the most?  Which character did you like most?  Which character did you like least?

Did you remember about the phone call that Sally was waiting for? (Pg. 385)

Sally reflected on the will to move vs. the will to stay put. (ePg. 463)  Which do you think is stronger?  Does the will to stay put stem from a man's virtues or vices? Sally also believes that God has a purpose for everyone. (ePg. 463) Do you agree?

When Duchess served stuffed artichokes, Sally didn't know what they were. (ePg. 467)  Then the all talked about who was the first person to eat an artichoke.  Have you ever thought about it?  Have you ever eaten an artichoke?  Share your experience.

When Woolly's brother-in-law, Dennis, is spoken about in Woolly's chapters, his name is always in quotes ("Dennis") as if Woolly thought that wasn't his real name.  If Dennis was being spoken to or if Sarah said she had to meet Dennis in the city, the name was not in quotes.  Nor was it in quotes in Emmett's or Duchess's chapters.  What effect did the quotes have for you?

Dennis thought he could get Woolly a job at the stock exchange. (ePg. 475) Did that seem reasonable?  Woolly commented that "he was never going to visit the Statue of Liberty". At that time, did you understand why he would think that?  At what point did you suspect or figure out what Woolly was planning?  After  you knew what Woolly would do, which events did you rethink and see differently?  What effect did this have on you as a reader?  Did the experience make you think about real life events differently?

Emmett took comfort in the shared sense of right and wrong he felt with Sally, after the wine bottle incident. (ePg. 477)  Tell of a time you felt a comradery based on shared values.  Emmett wondered what virtue Sarah had too much of. (ePg. 495)  What virtue do you have too much of? 

Did you agree with Abacus's sideways diamond philosophy of life?

Were you surprised at the color of paint for Emmett's car?  The twins didn't charge Emmett for the auto work because they owed Townhouse.  Was that fair?  What if Townhouse wanted to collect some other time?

Woolly enjoyed commercials.  Do you have a favorite commercial?

Billy easily figured out the safe combination in six tries.  (Pg. 556)  Did you know what the combination would be?

Theme Ideas

Decorate with trains. (Ch. 8 and others)
Decorate with placemat maps like at Howard Johnsons.
Celebrate Mrs. Watson and Grandpa Wolcott with fireworks.
Decorate with scarecrows with popcorn on their arms like the bird man Woolly saw in Liberty Park.
Decorate with thesauruses.  Play thesaurus games.
Decorate with candelabra, like at the dinner party at Sarah's house. (ePg. 468)
Duchess did a magic trick for his friends with a cork  in a bottle and a napkin.  (ePg. 470)  Have guests  prepare magic tricks to perform.
Play "telephone" like Woolly remembered with Sarah.
Play Parcheesi or do jigsaw puzzles like Woolly mentioned when giving the tour of the lake house. (ePg. 496)
Collect favorite children's books and donate them in honor of Billy.

Serve French toast like Billy had with Sister Agnes.  Include eggs and coffee. (ePg. 124)
Serve hotcakes and bacon like Woolly had for breakfast at Howard Johnsons.  Duchess had corned beef hash and sunny side ups.
Serve Italian food in honor of Duchess. (ePg. 137)  Some specific items Duchess mentions are: "stuffed artichokes, mussels marinara, clams oreganata, and calamari fritti" appetizers. "Linguine with clams, spaghetti carbonara, ...penne Bolognese, ...chicken cacciatore, veal scallopini, veal Milanese, and osso buco." (ePg. 138)  The dish Duchess says is most special is "Fettuccine io Amore ... fresh-made pasta that's tossed in a sauce of tomatoes, bacon, caramelized onions, and pepper flakes." (ePg. 138)  Serve with vino rosso,  because  "You can't appreciate a good italian dinner, [Duchess] said, without a little vino rosso." (ePg. 466)
Serve chili and cornbread like Stew fixed at the camp under the elevated. (ePg. 262)
Serve grilled cheese triangles like Sarah served Woolly.
Serve crepes like Marceline made for Duchess. (Pg. 350)
Serve whiskey , like both Duchess and Fitz enjoyed.  Especially Irish whiskey.
Replicate tea at The Plaza with a serving tower holding "watercress and cucumber and salmon sandwiches on the lower levels, and the little lemon tarts and chocolate eclairs on top".
Serve champagne like Ma Belle served.
Serve fetuccini mi amore. (Pg. 435)
Serve fried chicken and blueberry muffins to honor Woolly's memories of family visits to the lake house. (ePg. 496)