It only takes a couple of pages of The Driver to realise that while Alex Roy may very well be the playboy loudmouth of Gumball fame, he is above all a highly intelligent and articulate writer who can effortlessly construct an utterly compelling narrative.
The story should be predictable - obsessed car nut attempts New York to LA speed record - but Alex Roy carefully builds an intricate picture of his motivation through multiple threads of his early life, his family and business, his early road rallying and his meticulous preparation.
It's riveting stuff - one of those rare books that you keep thinking about weeks after you've finished it. It makes you realise how much the world has changed since the Cannonballs of the 1970s and how difficult Roy's challenge was.
On the other hand I am also left with a persistent, nagging feeling of despair and melancholy that I'm the same age as Roy but have fulfilled so little of my early ambition. Why wasn't it me trying to break the US Express record? Why do I just stay at home and watch this stuff on YouTube? Thanks for that, Alex.