From Publishers Weekly
Humorist O'Rourke shifts gears, covering and combining past pieces on cars (for Automobile
, Car and Driver
) with new material to set this auto anthology in motion. Much has been reworked œbecause the writing—how to put this gently to myself—sucked. Starting with car journalism language (œDrop the bottle and grab the throttle), he steers the reader toward California cars: œMany automobiles were purchased to attract members of L.A.'s eight or ten opposite sexes. He writes about a variety of vehicles, from off-road racers to Philippine jeepneys (œa Willys cut in half and lengthened). Accelerating the humor, he updates his 1979 account of a 700-mile weekend trip through Michigan and Indiana: œI can imagine what the farm girls and small town teen angels who looked so longingly at the Harley-Davidson FXE-80 Super Glide would have thought if I had been riding a Segway: 'dork.'Â His early essay œHow to Drive Fast on Drugs While Getting Your Wing-wang Squeezed and Not Spill Your Drink is followed by wild road trips, NASCAR nights and selecting œa new grocery hauler, parent trap, Keds sled, family bus. Never in neutral, O'Rourke offers laughter on wheels. (June)
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Political satirist O’Rourke grew up in Ohio in a family that owned a car dealership. That’s where and when he first learned to love American cars and appreciate their deep connection to the culture. In this tantalizing book, O’Rourke veers back and forth between essays he wrote for several magazines, including Car and Driver and Esquire, from his youth and more recently. The result is an insightful look not just at the American love affair with cars, but also at one man’s changing outlook on life, all of it fast-paced and over the top. Looking back from the safety and soundness of middle age, O’Rourke takes his younger self to task for excessive skid-marking and sexual escapades. But the older version of O’Rourke is as fun-loving as the younger, with an unabashed appreciation of the bone-rattling fun of speed. His essays recall adventures at the Baja 1000 and NASCAR, with rich detail of assorted characters and their cars and motorcycles. Notwithstanding long-time praise of European and Japanese design, he offers full-throated defense of American car design for American sensibilities and living conditions. Even readers who know nothing about cars and motorcycles will appreciate the joy and hilarity of this book. --Vanessa Bush