the journey begins

who I am

As a young child in the 1950s, Michael was transferred to the care of his estranged, alcoholic father. Despite his mother’s stern warnings to do right by their son, Michael and his dad set off hitchhiking across the country. Trading his schoolbooks for a tattered Rand McNally atlas, Michael spent most of his childhood crisscrossing the country—rarely attending class, surviving on shoplifted sardines and sugared bread, sleeping in rundown rooming houses, and rousing his soused dad from seedy bars. The twosome was perpetually en route to someplace else. 

Read the memoir that critics praised:

  • “A remarkable story . . . that is poignant and very, very real.”  Larry King, CNN
  • “A moving and thoroughly engrossing testament to the resilience of the human spirit.”  USA Today
  • “A heartbreaking memoir of staggering mileage.” Entertainment Weekly
  • “The gritty realism of a smoke-filled flophouse and wide-eyed joy of youth—an unusual combination but one that makes for a terrific tale.” Rocky Mountain News
  • “A fascinating tale . . . This is not the typical memoir of a disadvantaged childhood.  Keith knew his dad’s many faults, but loved him anyway.”  Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
  • “Keith is an excellent storyteller . . . A well-told tale of an odd stretch in the life of an American boy.”  The Boston Globe
  • “A relentlessly gritty but good-humored tale of hope and survival.”  Kirkus Review

The Next Better Place
A Father and Son on the Road


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Keith at 10
Keith at 10 years old

Michael Keith

Michael Keith