The Car Thief By: Theodore Weesner
Posted by Krystal Larson at 11:44 PM Saturday, June 9, 2012
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.”
In this rich, beautifully crafted story, Weesner accomplishes a rare feat: He’s written a transcendent piece of literature in deceptively plain language, painting a gripping portrait of a father and a son, otherwise invisible among the mundane, everyday details of life in blue collar America. A true and enduring American classic.
Sixteen year-old Alex Housman steals cars and skips school, almost hoping to get caught. His younger brother was taken away to live with his re-married mother who never bothers to see her oldest son, Alex. His alcoholic, divorced father works in a Michigan auto factory. Alex fantasizes about a girl in his high school, but ends up being stalker-like, despite her initial friendly attitude. Once he’s caught for stealing cars, Alex ends up in juvenile detention where he meets an assortment of lost, misfit boys like himself.
Weesner sets his story in 1959, and he mentions in the introduction that it is somewhat autobiographical. This is a re-release, originally published in 1972. The story reminds me of Catcher in the Rye, the novel we all had to read in high school. These two stories fall into the “read them because you have to” category for me. As a teen, I sometimes felt the undirected energy, purposeless confusion, lack of care that Weesner describes so poignantly. As a boy, Alex seems to also feel the need to punch or be punched…needing some recklessness and danger to feel alive. However, his perpetual boredom with his life also comes through. When an adviser suggests various jobs, Alex takes on a paper route and then later caddies at a country club. Having work seems to improve his outlook. The novel’s ending is not unexpected, but is uneventfully, quietly sad.
As a teen, this story would have made me uncomfortable. Some of the feelings are too close to home then. As an adult, I feel so sorry for Alex’s father – who shyly, genuinely seems to love his son. With such a broken home and so many problems, the story draws you into their world, but you don’t want to be there. If this was a neighbor, I would want to help, but I would feel the situation to be nearly hopeless. This is a novel that should be read for its insights and its great writing. Those of us who read for inspiration, excitement, and optimistic thoughts may only feel disturbed and anxious.
Three and a Half Stars
*Reviewed by Colleen*
Find this book:
Barnes and Noble
This product or book may have been distributed for review, this in no way affects my opinions or reviews.
Grab my Button
<div align="center"><a href="http://livetoread-krystal.blogspot.com/" title="Live to Read" target="_blank"><img src="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-uvNsi6hvZtM/Tt5G1nXGbsI/AAAAAAAABBI/VJ0J0_3ozg8/s1600/button.jpg" alt="Live to Read" style="border:none;" /></a></div>
http://www.onewaytextlink.com. Powered by Blogger.
- ► 2016 (366)
- ► 2015 (312)
- ► 2014 (408)
- ► 2013 (530)
- Freedom To Read Giveaway Hop!
- Guest Post and Giveaway by Author Lila Munro!
- Passages: How Reading the Bible in a Year Will Cha...
- A Want So Wicked by Suzanne Young
- This Is Not a Test by Courtney Summers
- Hope Springs By: Kim Cash Tate
- The Twelfth Paladin Guest Post and INT Giveaway!
- Dancing Naked In Dixie by Lauren Clark Review and ...
- Terri Giuliano Long - What Is Your View on Authori...
- Moa Excerpt!
- List of Comment Entry Amazon International Giftcar...
- Ties That Bind New Cover!
- Angel Eyes by Shannon Dittemore and Win a Nook Col...
- A Princess Broken by Misty Gatlin
- Ties that Bind By: Heather Huffman Review and Giv...
- Don't Forget About These Awesome Giveaways! (Many...
- PrintRunner Giveaway!
- The Last Refuge by Ben Coes Review and Print Givea...
- Don't You Wish by Roxanne St. Claire
- Skylark by Meagan Spooner
- The 500 by Matthew Quirk
- The Best Way: El Camino de Santiago By: Bill Walke...
- Lucy Come Home by Dave and Neta Jackson
- The Weeping Paperback Cover Reveal!
- Project Moses Guest Post and Book and $10 Amazon G...
- Midsummer's Eve Giveaway Hop!
- Clear Your Shelf Giveaway!
- BEA Giveaway!!!!! *Includes links to my INT giveaw...
- All He Saw Was The Girl by Peter Leonard
- Dancing Naked In Dixie Grand Prize Giveaway!
- Wings of Hope Guest Post and $10 Amazon Giftcard C...
- Dancing Naked In Dixie Review and INT Giveaway!
- Glamorous Illusions by Lisa Tawn Bergren Blog Tour...
- Spell Bound by Kelley Armstrong
- My Father At 100 by Ron Reagan
- The Anniversary Waltz by Darrel Nelson
- Guest Post by Author Lille Spencer!
- The Concubine Saga by Lloyd Lofthouse
- Ascending Into Euphoria by Tiffany Tinney
- Growing Up Ziglar by Julie Ziglar Norman
- Project Moses Free For Kindle!!!
- Salt City by Robert C. Fleet Excerpt and INT Givea...
- Crazy by Amy Reed
- Ferryman & the Flame Giveaway and Book Blast!
- A Gift for My Sister By: Ann Pearlman
- Finish What You Start: Unlocking the Success Secre...
- The Girls’ Ghost Hunting Guide By: Stacey Graham
- Real Mermaids Don't Hold Their Breath by Hélène Bo...
- Faithful Families Giveaway!
- Being Friends With Boys by Terra Elan McVoy
- The Car Thief By: Theodore Weesner
- Such a Rush by Jennifer Echols
- Guest Post by Author Lisa J. Rogers!
- Hope Is Love by Sylvia Hubbard
- Cadence Beach Guest Post and $10 Amazon Giftcard G...
- Reunited Book Blast and Promo!
- Guest Post by Author K. Reed with Awesome Post-Apo...
- How to satisfy your readers with endings by Rebecc...
- The Caves of Etretat by Matt Chatelain: Guest Post...
- Blogoversary Giveaway #2 (International)!
- Shadows Cast By Stars by Catherine Knutsson
- All These Lives by Sarah Wylie
- Reunited Book Blast and Giveaway!
- Speculation by Edmund Jorgensen Review and Giveawa...
- Desires Unleashed Promo
- Backlash by Karyn Good Guest Post and Giveaway! : ...
- Undertow by Callie Kingston Review and Ebook Givea...
- Sirenz Back in Fashion by Charlotte Bennardo, Nata...
- Guest Post by Author Jennifer Fromke
- Dive Into Summer Giveaway!
- Sirenz by Charlotte Bennardo & Natalie Zaman
- Team Human by Justine Larbalestier, Sarah Rees Bre...
- After All by Deborah Raney
- Just Flirt by Laura Bowers
- The Master of Misrule (The Game of Triumphs #2) by...
- My Favorite Reads Giveaway!
- Devine Intervention by Martha Brockenbrough
- The Lost Code by Kevin Emerson
- Dyson Giveaway Event!
- ▼ June (81)