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Roll On: A Trucker's Life on the Road Paperback – April 15, 2012
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"Roll On takes us as readers out of our familiar world and into that of the long-haul truck driver. Fred Afflerbach, himself once a long-haul driver, brings Ubi and his changing world alive in a way that will touch your heart—and make you hope he finds happiness at the end of his picaresque journey. This novel stands out as new and fresh among many nostalgic reflections of life as it once was."
"An entertaining and informative cross-country odyssey, Fred Afflerbach’s Roll On traces the life of “the last of a breed,” an almost mythic, independence-minded truck driver, as he transports furniture past famous landmarks, through dense forests, over major rivers, and in and out of congested cities, carrying the reader along on an engaging narrative with telling dialogue and picturesque description. Whether rescuing students in search of the real America or picking up a hippie helper who proves an expert loader of others’ belongings or encountering fascinating figures whose household or business effects, even a grand piano, he moves from west coast to east and points in between, Afflerbach’s wholesome hero regales the reader with a know-how not only for maneuvering the highways in any weather or condition but for dealing with one’s origins and directions, in terms of love, family, and ethical decisions. The novelist knows his subject through and through and tells his compelling story artfully, one full of insights and characters any reader will come to care deeply about."
Even though it’s fiction, Roll On is a stellar addition to your adventure travel collection. Scooch over your copy of William Least Heat-Moon’s Blue Highways and John Steinbeck’s Travels With Charley and ride shotgun with trucker Ubi Sunt as he steers Old Ironsides, his ‘56 Peterbilt 18-wheeler, along America’s highways.
Roll past Shiprock, the magnificent throat of a volcano rising 1,500 feet above northern New Mexico’s high desert plain. And see Manhattan anew from Ubi’s rig called a cabover that sits on top of a 350-horsepower diesel. Meet The Chameleon, who offers “polishing, painting and pills” at truck stops, and Mississippi Hippie, a pony-tailed musician who, for cash, helps Ubi load and unload freight and sleeps in the 45-foot trailer.
Freedom and the meaning of life are up for discussion as orphan and widower Ubi copes with progress that threatens his way of life. This resourceful Good Samaritan rescues “four wheelers” and other truckers who don’t have the road smarts that Ubi accumulated during what is now a bygone era of independent trucking. Who but Ubi knows to carry bleach in his magic side box to help improve traction on ice and snow?
If your father or grandfather was a jack-of-all-trades, you will identify with Ubi’s daughter Jeanne, who learned the value of tools and CB radios from her Dad, but now wants him to give up the road—or does she? Jeanne’s twins Molly and Jeremy want nothing of the sort, and excitedly beg Grandpa Truck to bring Old Ironsides to school for show-and-tell.
And don’t overlook the jazz lover and poet in Ubi, who keeps The Complete Works of Walt Whitman and a flashlight in his bunk for night reading.
Someone please send this book to Clint Eastwood and Tommy Lee Jones, who know the strong attraction of road stories and will appreciate the fine descriptions: “West of Fort Worth, the land peels back and the sky comes out like opening the curtains on a sunny day.”
Is Fred Afflerbach writing a sequel? Roll on!
-- Elaine Davenport, Publisher, Writer's AudioShop (www.writersaudio.com)
Top Customer Reviews
But here’s the difference. The American cowboy is immortalized in story, song, film, and art—so much so that we all think we know who he was. In contrast, the American trucker is a largely unknown figure. Thundering past us on the highway at seventy plus miles an hour, head four or five feet higher than ours, often hidden behind tinted windows, we usually can’t make the all-important eye contact from which would learn so much about his (or her) humanity. Add to that the fact that his steed is sheet metal and rubber, loud and scary, and the American trucker has a hard time gaining an emotional connection with an audience.
Maybe that’s why truckers haven’t received cultural immortality yet. Sure, there’ve been a few forgettable films, and some country/western songs come to mind—but almost no significant fine art, and very little serious literature about this breed of adventurer.
That may be changing. Fred Afflerbach’s Roll On: A Trucker’s Life on the Road takes the reader into the cab of an aging big rig to ride with its aging driver, who turns out to be a loveable romantic, a respected professional and a cussedly independent fellow on the far side of middle age. To his grandchildren he’s the best thing since ice cream. To his daughter he’s a total frustration. To the new owners of the van lines he pulls for he’s a tightass who won’t play on the team. He knows that one way or another, he’s likely to find himself turned out to pasture sooner rather than later. But he ain’t goin’ without a fight.Read more ›
Roll On took me into the culture and life style of just such a long haul trucker. Ubi Sunt and his beloved truck is a wonderful character story that will take you into a world you most likely know nothing about and yet should. Ubi fights age, changing markets, fuel prices, and family that want him home. And the character changes more than a few peoples minds about what a trucker is in today's world, including this reader. Fred has written a terrific book that while not a page turner type of book, it is in the end a most satisfying look into a lifestyle and job that is vital to our society.
I'll be recommending this book to my circle of readers and I advise you to check it out as well.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
You owe it to yourself to buy this really great read by Fred Afflerbach, an award winning journalist who began life as a semi driver. You'll enjoy!Published on April 12, 2013 by The Avid Shopper
First fiction about a truck driver on the road I have read. I am a wife of a driver and have been out there with him. Love the book.Published on February 3, 2013 by S. Mcminn
With Roll On, Fred Afflerbach successfully combines the liberating aspects of America's winding roads and deeply considered morality. Read morePublished on November 26, 2012 by Taylor Jones
Never been all that interested in truck driving, but this book brought me into the world. Greatly enjoyed reading and I highly recommend it.Published on November 26, 2012 by Jason F