Author: Theodore Weesner
Pages: Oversize paperback, 387
Published: 2012 (originally in 1972)
Publisher: Astor + Blue Editions LLC
Opening Lines: "Again today Alex Housman drove the Buick Riviera. The Buick, coppertone, white sidewalls, was the model of the year, a '59, although the 1960 models were already out."
"Set in Detroit in circa 1959, the protagonist, sixteen-year-old, Alex Housman has just stolen his fourteenth car and frankly doesn't know why. His divorced, alcoholis, working class father grinds out the night shift at the local Chevy Plant looking forward to the flask in his glove compartment—
"Fighting to survive, Alex and his father face the tough realities of estrangement, youth detention, and even violence as their lives hurtle toward a climatic episode."
Thoughts: First off, I received this book as an ARC from the publisher for a fair an honest review. Reading the synopsis and all of the favorable reviews, I had high hopes for this book. Unfortunately, I was extremely disappointed. I found myself struggling through this book and bribing myself into reading "just one more page."
I found that I could not make a connection with this book. Not being from the era where the story takes place, I felt a huge gap and separation from the story. Further, I continually felt bogged down in pointless details. He uses up too much space with seemingly meaningless details. Whatever the author was trying to do, he failed.
According to many reviews, this book is heralded as being the coming of age novel of the 20th century. And, I'm sorry, but I really doubt that. This book lacks a timelessness that makes other novels classics. It may be powerful and change the world in its time, but it will not be a classic if it cannot appeal to future generations.
Alex was extremely one dimensional. I felt no emotion from the character. While I grant that this could have been an intentional literary device, it made the character unreachable and very unsympathetic. His apathetic attitude towards stealing and being in juvenile detention made it impossible to understand the character. For me, I felt closer to him when he was frantic over the police possibly coming to his house. Before and after, nothing. Normally, the reaction he received once he returned from school would have made my blood boil; however, I was unable to muster feelings or regard for Alex. His poor characterization made it impossible to really care what happened to him.
To me, it feels as though the author is trying to read a new generation of readers with this novel; however, it lacks something to make it accessible. It is definitely a product of its time, and I don't see it as being anything else.
Currently: Blood Rites by Jim Butcher, Sacrifical Magic by Stacia Kane, & listening to Fifty Shades Freer by E.L. James
Current Pages: 9370