Last Bus to Wisdom

Last Bus to Wisdom

Book - 2015
Average Rating:
Rate this:
"In the spirit of The Bartender's Tale, a lively and poignant coming-of-age story about a boy and his great-uncle on a cross-country odyssey. Donal Cameron is being raised by his grandmother, the cook at the legendary Double W ranch in Doig's beloved Two Medicine Country of the Montana Rockies, a landscape that gives full rein to an eleven-year-old's imagination. But when Gram has to have surgery for "female trouble" in the summer of 1951, all she can think to do is to ship Donal off to her sister in faraway Manitowoc, Wisconsin. There Donal is in for a rude surprise: Aunt Kate-bossy, opinionated, argumentative, and tyrannical--is nothing like her sister. She henpecks her good-natured husband, Herman the German (as Donal discovers him to be), and Donal can't seem to get on her good side either. After one contretemps too many, Kate decides to pack him back to the authorities in Montana on the next Greyhound. But to Donal's surprise, he's not traveling solo: Herman the German has decided to fly the coop with him. In the immortal American tradition, the pair light out for the territory together, meeting a classic Doigian ensemble of characters and having rollicking misadventures along the way. Charming, wise, and slyly funny, Last Bus to Wisdom is another treasure of a novel from the best storyteller of the West"-- Provided by publisher.
Publisher: New York : Riverhead Books, 2015
ISBN: 9781594632020
Branch Call Number: DOIG
Characteristics: 453 pages ; 24 cm


From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment
Aug 10, 2020

Excellent summer read. Having a kid as this book's protagonist reminds me of another great Doig book, 'This House of Sky'.

Feb 10, 2020

Another great book by Ivan Doig….it got a little slow after the first chapters, but quickly became capitating as you read on.

Jun 01, 2019

Another charming coming of age tale from a master storyteller. Donal gets sent from the familiar Two Medicine Country to Wisconsin, when his grandmother has to have serious surgery that will have a long recovery. He has adventures on the "dog bus," but his grandmother's sister is nothing like the sweet woman who's raising him. Even her husband, "Herman the German," can't tolerate her. The two of them fight over his toast every morning, then he retreats to his greenhouse, which she won't come near. Donal learns to avoid Aunt Kate the same way, and he and Herman become friends. Finally, he tells Aunt Kate he's going home because his Grandma's better (though he has gotten no such news). At the first stop, he finds Herman getting on the dog bus. Their adventures increase, and they end up in a tiny town named Wisdom, where a crew of down and outers comes to cut hay. Aunt Kate has made sure Herman's on the FBI's Most Wanted List. The two of them are saved when the ranch owner offers them jobs, even offering Grandma a job as a cook, since he's been wanting to fire the current bad cook for years. This light hearted story has, as do all of Doig's books, both a love of the Two Medicine Country, and some serious moments as well.

Mar 19, 2019

I have a fond place in my heart for Mr Doig so I imagine I rate his books a little higher than I would another author. This feels a bit like a tale told around a campfire, maybe over numerous nights. Although it occurs in the Montana that I just missed for arriving too late, it has the feel of the place, as do most of his books.

Sep 23, 2018

Not sure how I found this one but so glad I did. It was a fun read! Will definitely look for previous tales by the author who has sadly had his last rodeo.

ontherideau Sep 08, 2018

An old fashioned western told from a boy's perspective. Charming

Aug 09, 2018

A great read.

Aug 03, 2018

Similar in some ways to Bartender's Tale, the common denominator being a story told by Donny, a 12 year old boy. This is about discovery, overcoming adversity in various forms and a glimpse into the days of the West years ago along with insights from an illegal immigrant claiming to be related. Doig is a master storyteller, so even those not fascinated with the West, will enjoy the youngster's romp across country on the 'dog bus' as he collects autographs for his book. It's enjoyable, fun and rife with valuable insights into living.

ojwelch Jul 15, 2018

Would love to be able to read this book. Can you get it in Large Print ?

CircMary Aug 15, 2017

Winsome and humorous.... another fond glimpse of life in the West by consummate author Ivan Doig, who died in 2015.

View All Comments


Add Age Suitability

There are no ages for this title yet.


Add a Summary

There are no summaries for this title yet.


Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.


Add a Quote

There are no quotes for this title yet.

Explore Further

Browse by Call Number


Subject Headings


Find it at Arapahoe Libraries

To Top