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Growing Up and Getting Old Behind the Wheel: An American Auto Biography Kindle Edition
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta) (May include reviews from Early Reviewer Rewards Program)
This book spans from 1939 to present day, and is a wonderful, auto biographical, memoir of cars and the road. The Front Matter contains a list of cars driven, conjuring yesteryear's cars that kissed the road, from the '39 Chrysler to the 2010 Ford.
The smell of cars, "the slightly sweet, slightly pungent smell of the smooth firm cloth seats of the 1939 maroon Chrysler sedan . . .", as well as in the Cadillac, roadsters, '48 Studebaker, '56 Chevy Convertible, and to the '96 and '98 Audi, brings the scents of wood and leather from new cars. Those memories bring back the "New Car Smell Spray" which gave the smell of new cars while driving used cars.
At a young age, he and his friends appropriated cars from driveways and went for joy rides then returned them until they were caught. The minor infraction put him and his joy-ride buddies in the pen for four years as he and his mates were transferred to a security camp for young first offenders in Florida's Panhandle. The first look at his future when he saw the motto on the arch "Go forth To Serve," froze him with fear. He compared it briefly to the gate at Auschwitz, "Arbeit Macht Frei" or "work sets you free" at the end of WWII. The sentences were later shortened to a little more than a year for the four of them, while two other of his friends spent an additional six months. It was a sobering realization of what life would bring to him. But the author went on to accomplish many academic successes in his life as a professor in academia and the literary field, all documented in the last pages of the book.
Years later, still cruising the roads of America with his wife Susan, he couldn't help reminisce that as the years go by, he's the big fish at the end of the line in Hemingway's The Old Man and the Sea. He then imagines that "the big fish at the end of an imaginary line is not a marlin or a shark, but life itself. I'm holding on tightly, I know the line will eventually break. But just feeling its power there is a thrill."
This book was passed on to me for review and in no way influenced that review.
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