I'll Get There. It Better Be Worth The Trip.: 40th Anniversary Edition
The 40th anniversary edition of a groundbreaking teen classic
When the grandmother who raised him dies, Davy Ross, a lonely thirteen-year-old boy, must move to Manhattan to live with his estranged mother. Between alcohol-infused lectures about her self-sacrifice and awkward visits with his distant father, Davy’s only comfort is his beloved dachshund Fred. Things start to look up when he and a boy from school become friends. But when their relationship takes an unexpected turn, Davy struggles to understand what happened and what it might mean.
“Shattering... frank... intelligent.”—Horn Book
“This book... should be available wherever young people read.”—New York Times
“Sophisticated... remarkably touching.”
New York Times Best of 1969 Book List
School Library Journal Best of 1969 Book List
This anniversary edition features reflections from Brent Hartinger (Geography Club), Martin Wilson (What They Always Tell Us), and Kathleen T. Horning (Director of the Cooperative Children’s Book Center), with a foreword by Stacey Donovan (Dive).
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I have mixed feelings for ‘I’ll Get There, It Better Be Worth The Trip’ because upon finishing this book, I was delighted; but while reading, especially the first half, I was bored. But this is definitely a masterful title and something that will resonate with intelligent readers long after it’s finished.
The writing style is very blunt and staccatoed, it’s not an entirely unpleasant to read. Though, it felt so foreign to the types of books I generally read. It reads like a child has written it – which is very true to the inner voice of our protagonist Davy.
The star of this book is definitely Davy’s dog, Fred! He completely captured my heart and had me chuckling in many places. Who can resist an adorkable puppy?
Honourable mentions go to the realistic character portraits of the new best friend, Altschuler and Davy’s alcoholic mother. Both were painted in raw gritty colours through Davy’s eyes, and a story behind their behaviour is inferred. This made an intriguing read, not to have all the facts explained.
A breakdown for the mediocre rating and the reason I found the first half less than exciting lies with how it felt very much like a recount of mundane facts. And on the surface that’s all it is. The perspective you gain upon finishing the novel will switch that all on its head. There is a lot of symbolism and metaphors, and it did take me a while to switch on to it all… mainly because I repeatedly put this book down (due to afore mentioned waning of attention).
Given this novel was written over 40 years ago, the tale still stands the test of time. I loved the description of the streets of New York, and Central Park – they jumped from the page just as brightly as Fred.
I went into this book not knowing anything other than it was about a boy and his dog and was considered a classic in LGBTQI+ Literature. It was nice. I guess I expected more to happen. ‘I’ll Get There, It Better Be Worth The Trip’ is quietly impactful. Much like life, it travels along innocently until something happens to shift your perspective: and that is the strong sense I garnered from this book.
It’s not necessarily a coming out story, but one of accepting loss and change. This fact alone sets it apart from the typical novel in this genre. At the beginning of the novel this theme is set up immediately when Davy’s Grandmother passes. The rest of the story line interprets the same narrative style in varying degrees.
It ends with a typical note seen in classic contemporaries, that … after a poignant moment, leaves you to draw your own conclusions. Which I like, and am starting to see a trend away from that in modern releases – not everything needs to be tied up in a pretty little bow.
A short novel with a lot of meaning, well worth the read – especially if you love dogs.