Review: Sleepy Hollow Motor Inn

Sleepy Hollow Motor Inn
Litzine, Molly Young, 64 pgs, Young Blanks, Youngblanks.com, $15

Not to be too glib, but I have a private competition between myself and everyone else in the world where I try to figure out who had the most successful COVID quarantine experience. In a match between myself and book critic Molly Young, she takes the cake. While I was panic-adopting a large pitbull and getting beer hand-delivered to my apartment, Young escaped to her family’s “conveniently empty” Cape Cod cottage nestled in amongst an idyllic scientific community where she spent her time going on long walks, reading, investigating old murders and researching Titanic submersibles (what a trendsetter!). If you, like myself, crinkle a brow at the terms true crime and ruin porn, have no fear. Young breathes life into her tale of homicide, hemophilia, Cape Cod motels and underwater exploration. She brings a love of language, rigorous research approaches and a jovial reportage style reminiscent of a This American Life episode.

I hesitate to use the word “fried” when describing my attention span, but if I were to, this zine would be the antidote to my problem. Amidst the murder and discussion of global pandemics, there were moments of delight that soothed my soul. For example, Young’s father kept log books of his time spent in Cape Cod where he tracked weather, phone numbers, and weekend activities, all captured in neat, careful handwriting that reminded me of my own methodical grandfather. And might remind you of yours!

Another delight, Young writes of a paper by scientist Stefan Helmreich that describes his exploration of the Titanic wreck in a small submersible named Alvin. To quote her, quoting him, she writes, “His description of the sub is the most beautiful I’ve ever read: To be nestled inside the submersible, he writes, it to be “a ball of culture submerged in the domain of nature.””At one point Young collects the original police report from the murder and takes the time to commend the police officers on their clarity of thought, their innovative use of passive voice, and relatively few spelling errors. I too, tip my hat to the officers, and to Sleepy Hollow Motor Inn (this book not the place described therein), for also possessing the qualities mentioned above.

 

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