The subtitle is “A young man’s thoughts on trains and tramping in America.” The book delivers just that. The young man is observant and fanciful enough to make it engaging, while keeping it low key, letting the dirt in his fingernails come through. He’s interested in lingo, and shares it in a way that retains its style but also makes the meaning as clear as it can be in a language like ours. There is plenty of friendly advice for anyone who might consider looking for freedom in a boxcar. Apart from all this it’s about the pains and discoveries of growing up – experiences familiar enough to me to make me identify with a tramp caught on the road between home and adulthood with no clear way to reach either.