Monday 7 May 2012

The Car Thief by Theodore Weesner - Book Review

Title: The Car Thief
Author: Theodore Weesner
Publisher: Astor & Blue Editions
Publication Date: 3rd May 2012
Pages: 305
Format: E-Book - EPUB
Genre: Literary Fiction
Source: ARC from Publisher

It’s 1959. Sixteen year-old Alex Housman has just stolen his fourteenth car and frankly doesn’t know why. His divorced, working class father grinds out the night shift at the local Chevy Plant in Detroit, kept afloat by the flask in his glove compartment and the open bottles in his Flint, Michigan home.

Abandoned and alone, father and son struggle to express a deep love for each other, even as Alex fills his day juggling cheap thrills and a crushing depression. He cruises and steals, running from, and to, the police, compelled by reasons he frustratingly can’t put into words. And then there’s Irene Shaeffer, the pretty girl in school whose admiration Alex needs like a drug in order to get by. Broke and fighting to survive, Alex and his father face the realities of estrangement, incarceration, and even violence as their lives hurtle toward the climactic episode that a New York Times reviewer called “one of the most profoundly powerful in American fiction.”
(Goodreads Synopsis)

This is a wonderful coming-of-age tale that is well-written and compelling.

I got involved in Alex's story right from page one and it was fascinating to journey with him through his car-stealing beginning to the gripping conclusion. The prose in this book is deceptively simple and yet it is also very descriptive and centres the story in the present moment with great clarity.

That said, this is a fairly introspective piece and offers some thought-provoking observations on family relationships and the value of education. The portrayal of the relationship between Alex and his father is particularly telling.

I can certainly recommend this book to readers who like slightly deeper 'teen' tales.

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