how to steal a car

Wednesday, October 7, 2009 |

Most of my books come from the library. You may (or may not) have noticed, but I also read many more than I review. I’ll post a teaser on Tuesday and then never follow up with a final review/opinion. Also known as Very Maddening Behavior. I review maybe one out of every ten books. So while I have several stacks waiting patiently under the bed for their turn in the sun, I also have a constant stream of library reserves coming in, and my family mostly only sees a couple of books at a time. They still know I’m bookish, but they don’t know the EXTENT.

One person who knows better than most how many books I actually have in hiding: Joey. The youngest brother. He’s also 19, and thus technically a TEENAGER. I make him read young adult books. Or perhaps it’d be better said, I bring home a stack of seven or eight, and then I offload a couple on him before I head down to my reading cave (a.k.a. bedroom). That way he and I can chat about the books later. It’s not all coercion - after all, we’ve traded book recommendations for years and have mostly the same taste.

Case in point: a couple of days ago I brought home a book entitled How To Steal A Car. Both my dad and brother got grabby. My mom got incredulous. I got smug. Well, until Joey refused to give the book back. Then I just got resigned. And plotted revenge while he read. What revenge, you say? I made him write a little review [insert EVIL GRIN here]. You can check it out after the book description.

Some girls act out by drinking or doing drugs. Some girls act out by sleeping with guys. Some girls act out by starving themselves or cutting themselves. Some girls act out by being a bitch to other girls.

Not Kelleigh. Kelleigh steals cars.

In How to Steal a Car, National Book Award winner Pete Hautman takes teen readers on a thrilling, scary ride through one suburban girl's turbulent life - one car theft at a time.

Joey’s take:

How To Steal A Car is about a high school girl who one day picks up a set of car keys in a parking lot, and goes on to steal cars frequently. Personally, I thought the book as a fun read. The plot had a few twists, but was not the most gripping by any means.

Implausible is a good word to describe the book. Not a guide on how to steal a car, and I pity someone who tries to follow the book’s example. I might recommend this to a guy, but it is a bit melodramatic and emotional. I enjoyed the read, but it was good that the book was fairly short.

My reaction:

I was about ten pages into the book before I went to find Joey. I found him reading (the world is weird like that). First thing out of my mouth: “I have never been that bored!” He looked confused for a minute. “Oh, you’re reading the book?” Yep. We chatted a little bit, and then I went back to read a little more.

Overall I liked the book. I can’t say I LOVED it, and I definitely didn’t hate it. I liked it. I think you get enough of an idea about subject matter from the description. It’s a short read (170 pages), and it’s definitely entertaining. The premise promises a lot, and mostly it delivers. I know I read this in other blogs and am frustrated when I do, but I have to say it: Kelleigh (the character) needed more development. And that is all.

BUT, reading back over that last paragraph, I see that I’ve been a bit lackluster in praise or criticism. I want to stress that Pete Hautman has this ‘word thing’ down. His prose = awesome. I didn’t get up and scream or anything over the story, but I’m definitely going to check out Sweetblood, another of his novels. I can’t wait to see what he does with other stories. So I’ll end by saying check this one out. Or anything by Pete Hautman. There’s talent there.


Belle said...

I indulge in Very Maddening Behavior too. And sometimes I wonder if the librarians have me on a blacklist of some kind because they're always having to mark up those slips of paper designating a book as being on reserve for me :)

How To Steal a Car sounds like a good read. I've read a couple of Hautman's Snatched mystery series, and enjoyed them thoroughly. He's definitely a good writer.

Paulina said...

This sounds like a fun read! Maybe one of these days I'll find time to read books instead of blogs. ;)

Rhiannon Hart said...

In regards to Unwind: I'm glad someone else had the same weirded out I-don't-know-if-I-liked-it reaction! It's definitely a book that makes you think, and your skin crawl. It took me months to work out how I felt about it, and even then (and now) I'm still not completely sure. I haven't been recommending it to anyone, however, which is significant. I mean, it's just so effed up what happens to the heroes--in particular the chick, and I didn't even touch on that in my review. Violation is a good word for it. I look forward to your review!

Andrea said...

Possibly it would need to be longer than 170 to get good character development. But it sounds pretty good nonetheless.

Kim said...

LOL post. Thanks. What a fun way to connect with your brother. How many different ways to spell "Kelly" ?

Anonymous said...

Just found your blog through Celia's post; how funny that you know the exact ice cream shop I was talking about! The name evades my memory, but I know it's the only one around there - I hope she goes!
Lovely blog, I've been fumbling around bookstores lately with not a clue as to what to read. I'll be looking here for inspiration!

Anonymous said...

I once stayed in a relationship for months past it's worth just because the man was so compassionate about my book obsession. We were travelling in a camper together and he even bought me a couple of plastic totes so they would be protected from the rain and would even carry them to the truck (they probably each had a bout 50 books in them.)

Needless to say we are still fantastic friends even though the rest of the relationship didn't pan out.

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