Dear Bob and Sue

3 Voted

Dear Bob and Sue is the story of a middle-aged couple’s journey through all 59 of the United States’ national parks, told through the form of emails to their friends, Bob and Sue. Written by the couple themselves, Matt and Karen Smith, the book presents their observations along the way, in a style that is often wry, flippant and self-effacing.


Their journey did not follow any particular order, starting with the parks closest to their home in Washington and slowly moving outwards from there, before finishing with the least accessible ones in Alaska.


This book is certainly not one for young traveller’s hoping to find out what they can expect from the US’s various national parks. Throughout their trip, Matt and Karen stayed for only one or two days in each location, always flew and rented a car, and stayed in hotels outside the park. It is certainly not a story of intrepid backpackers who have left everything behind to explore the world, but rather witty observations within the context of America’s natural beauty, told through a series of snapshots.


Nevertheless, there are certainly some useful pieces of information featured throughout, including encounters with bears and horned sheep, as well as a close escape when their plane hit another. These are helpful reminders that the parks can still be dangerous places, regardless of how much money you spend in getting there.


Some criticism aimed towards the book is at Matt and Karen’s apparent disregard for the advice they were given from the park rangers and their disobedience in following certain instructions. As places that often have trouble with people abusing the rules, this could be seen as bad advert for those thinking about visiting. However, all in all, they are respectful and generally follow the park etiquette.

  • Journey to national parks told in humorous and unique style, using emails to friends, Bob and Sue
  • Gives rough idea of what to expect from parks, including some of the dangers
  • Authors appear fairly affluent, meaning it may not give good idea for backpackers
  • Sometimes disregard the rules of the parks by showing contempt towards park rangers