Reid avoids any easy sentimentality. When his characters stop to take in the scenic view beside a highway in Utah, they see "red rocks and steep gullies filled with road trash torn fast-food bags, Gatorade bottles brimming with fermented piss, animal bones, rusted oil drum tops, one sheet of drywall, and a crumpled cardboard sign that read WHY LIE? I NEED A BEER." But Reid can also be very funny, and his sense of American life is a refreshing antidote to the image our politicians like to project. Best of all, he obviously loves the characters he creates out of the worn and often seamy fabric of American life.
Elwood Reid reads from D. B. at Shaman Drum Bookshop on Saturday, July 31.
[Originally published in July, 2004.]