His long-distance childhood adventures in his family’s giant land cruisers are at the center of Don’t Make Me Pull Over!, a breezy and warm-hearted 'informal history' of the great American family road trip ... Mr. Ratay is not the type to subject us to edgy interrogations of Lolita or the National Lampoon’s Vacation movies, and, unlike so many other accounts of family life, this one is blissfully free of addiction, abuse or cruelty. For better or worse, the patriarchy sails the interstates unindicted in these pages, down highways seemingly paved with the iconic candies, videogames and paneled station wagons of the 1970s. And therein lies the answer. Mr. Ratay simply fills out his account of the many hours his family spent on the road with thumbnail histories of practically everything they saw, ate, rode in or rolled along ... Not to worry; it all goes down like a cold lemonade on a hot summer’s day. Mr. Ratay is a charming raconteur who always seems to know just when it’s time to get us all back into the car with his big, quintessentially middle-class family, which seems to be riding off into the sunset even as you read about it.
...a very breezy history of the family road trip, which had its heyday, at least for some Americans, from the 1950s into the '70s ... perhaps Ratay's most poignant cultural observation is the one he opens and closes his book on. Ratay says that, unlike plane trips, those long car rides of yore — in which families traveled without the distraction of smartphones or DVD players — were less about the destination than the journey.
Fun and informative, Don’t Make Me Pull Over!: An Informal History of the Family Road Trip is Richard Ratay’s tribute to a classic American mode of travel ... Mixing family memoir with pop history, Ratay chronicles the development of modern highways, the evolution of rest areas, the origins of speed limits, debates over seat belts and the founding of once-familiar roadside stops like Howard Johnson’s. He evokes the fads of the ’70s ... Throughout, Ratay is an amiable guide.