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Thursday, April 14, 2011

The Driver

I didn't know what to think of this book before I cracked it open.  Everyone in the automotive world knows who Alex Roy is but looking at the cover made me a bit skeptical.  "My dangerous pursuit of speed and truth in the outlaw racing world."  Was Mr. Roy trying to make his intercontinental runs more substantial than just a very fast, very long distance drive?  Did he want to be known as something more than just "that guy who broke the Cannonball record?"  The answer is a bit more complex than just a yes or no.  Read on to find out.

I'm not a huge reader of actual books, per se.  I spend a whole lot of time reading about cars online and in magazines and the only books that I read are usually out of necessity.  With that said, The Driver was one of the few books that I couldn't put down.  I found myself standing in the kitchen making four hour meals when they should have only taken a half hour.

Aside from being able to drive a car at ludicrous speeds on public roads, Alex Roy can write a very good book.  The book never seems bogged down by fluff but still has enough background information to keep the reader in the loop.  He writes in a partial narrative but also segments each chapter with the date and time to use flashbacks and time jumps to his advantage.  Think of an old friend telling you a story and having to backtrack here and there to fill in the details on a certain person or event for better clarity.  That's exactly what this feels like.  You're no longer reading about a person as it would read in a newspaper or, at the other end of the spectrum, a piece of literature.  This feels like Roy is actually retelling the story as he is reliving it in his mind.

In itself, reliving a high speed 3000 mile run is just a case of high anxiety mixed with a big wad of bail money.  However, Roy is able to capture the reader's attention by showing that to him there was a much more important reason for pursuing a profession of high speed illegal driving.  He wasn't at the Gumball Rallies just for the parties and girls.  He wasn't there just to prove that he's the most badass rally participant. He was there to fulfill a dying wish.  With that singular thought, Roy pushes himself to the very limit in regards to his finances, relationships, and sanity.

I apologize if this is all very vague but I meant it to be.  There is so much more than I expected in this book and don't want to spoil it for you.  It's very well written and completely from the heart.  You know how the story ends but like many things his journey was what came to define him.

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