The Car by Gary PaulsenLike many of Gary Paulsens novels, The Car has much to do with the author sorting out his own life by telling similar stories for young readers, sifting the wheat from the chaff to gain perspective on what it all means. Life is a complicated, sometimes ugly mess to comb through; we cant be sure of our own motives and intentions, let alone figure out how other people work and comment authoritatively on their journey. But Gary Paulsen never quits trying to understand, and in 1994 The Car became his latest story dealing with the harsh and ambiguous realities of life. Terry Anders is only fourteen years old when his quarrelsome parents both ditch him, neither aware the other parent has also deserted. That leaves Terry alone in their rundown house, with a dwindling food supply and emergency cash stash that wont last if he uses it to pay bills. Terry also has a half-assembled kit car on hand that a deadbeat customer once gave Terrys professional-mechanic father as partial payment for working on the guys truck. Terrys father rejected it and demanded cash, but the man skipped out and left the half-built kit car, which Terrys father keeps around as a reminder to take payment upfront before ever working on a car. Luckily, Terry inherited his fathers knack for mechanics, and a few days spent assembling the Blakely Bearcat produces a drivable vehicle. Terry cant legally drive at his age, but hes not going to let that stop him from hitting the open road. Hes on his own now.
Life on the move is new to Terry, but a sudden rainstorm over his topless car leads him into the company of a Vietnam War veteran and vagabond named Waylon, who has the savvy to keep Terry from getting nabbed by cops for underage driving. Waylon goes along with Terrys vague plan to drive from his home area of Cleveland, Ohio to Oregon to connect with an uncle he hasnt seen in years. Eventually Waylon earns his teen drivers trust, and Terry agrees to make a quick stop in Omaha, Nebraska to visit an old friend who can calm Waylon down after the middle-aged former soldier gets in a serious tussle with a pair of miscreants on the road. The addition of Wayne is just what Terry and Waylons westward expedition needed: he is as wise and caring as Waylon, a fellow Vietnam vet who knows how it feels to woo death in the shadowy realm of a foreign jungle. Waylon doesnt fly off the handle often, but when he does its helpful to have Wayne there to nip it in the bud. The two arent scholarly men in any formal sense, but they harbor deep love for all that is America, and a desire to impart that love to Terry. The drive to Oregon turns into a road trip filled with incredible natural sights and unforgettable nights on the town, and Terry couldnt ask for two better tour guides.
An afternoon spent in a religious commune with a sect that strictly separates girls and women from menfolk; a sightseeing aside to the location of Custers Last Stand in Montana; a run-in or two with aggressive guys who arent afraid of Waylon and Wayne like they should be, like Terry knows they should be because hes seen the physical devastation these vets are capable of inflicting in the blink of an eye. These are the experiences on the road that Terry never knew he wanted, and wouldnt have had without Waylon and Wayne to open his eyes to the awesome variety of Americana from coast to coast. What was Terrys old life like, anyway? He hardly remembers after a week driving the highways with Waylon, Wayne riding always nearby on his gorgeous motorcycle he calls Baby. Where is their final destination, and how will they know when they arrive? Maybe there is no fixed terminus on a journey like this. Maybe every moment on the road is its own purpose, a memory Terry will hold onto long after parting ways with Waylon and Wayne. But how will that parting occur? Will it be a happy goodbye, or tragic? Thats what were left to find out in the rest of this story. Until you ease the vehicle to a stop on the last page, youll never know.
Waylons lifestyle would appear aimless to most settle-down types, but he doesnt wander Americas byways for no reason. I am learning, he says to those who ask what hes doing with himself. He tried to learn from every single thing he did or that happened to him or around him or of him. If asked he would say he learned from wars and flowers, weather and bugs, windows and rocks, sticks, cities, prisons, mountains, curbs, women, children, and liars. A wise individual never ends the learning process, or limits their own education by thinking themselves above being taught by even the lowest person or thing. Everyone has a lesson to teach that you wont get anywhere else, and being too haughty to learn it is to your own shame. As Waylon tells Terry, You want to stay hungry...to learn. You get full, you get sleepy, lazy; you get lazy, you dont learn. Once the desire to expand your horizons abates, your love of life declines, and a person used to going at life full-throttle is on their way to a devastating fall if they become nonchalant. You never beat the game, Waylon warns Terry after skinning a roomful of poker players out of big money, all through skill and guile, no cheating involved. Waylon knows when to walk away. You go in, take what you need, get out. Never stay too long and never, never try to whip the game. Stay there too long and they figure you out, start chewing at the corners on you, know your betting. Then maybe two, three of them get together and whipsaw you. You have to be crafty as a fox when trying anything in the gray areas of societal decorum, anything that can get you in trouble if it lands wrong. You wont dodge every bullet fired at you, so limit the amount of lead shot in your direction. Its part of lifes infinite design of learning, and The Car is a piece of that design for perceptive readers. In that way, at least, its classic Gary Paulsen.
Life..., he thought. Life rolls funny if you dont watch it.
—The Car, P. 119
This book isnt as meaningful as The Foxman, Tiltawhirl John, Hatchet, or The Haymeadow, nor is it as profoundly emotional as Puppies, Dogs, and Blue Northers: Reflections on Being Raised by a Pack of Sled Dogs or The Rifle, but its a good, thoughtful read. Im giving it two and a half stars, and considered rounding up to three. This is the sort of story I hope for when I pick up a Gary Paulsen novel, and readers who are partial to low-key adventure and pervasive philosophical flourishes will appreciate The Car. Im confident youll learn something from it.
Thirteen-year old Brian Robeson, the sole passenger on a small plane from Hampton, New York to the north woods of Canada, boards the aircraft excited at the notion of flying in a single-engine plane. After the novelty of the experience passes, Brian returns to his thoughts of his parents' recent divorce. Brian recalls the fights between his parents and his hatred for the lawyers who attempt to cheerfully explain to him how the divorce will affect his life. What Brian calls "The Secret" also enters his consciousness, and at this point we do not know to what "The Secret" refers. Brian feels the burn of tears come to his eyes, but does not cry, making certain to guard his eyes from the pilot, whose name Brian cannot exactly remember. He suspects it is Jim or Jake, a man in his mid-forties who has been virtually silent during the ride. Seeing Brian marvel at the complexity of the control panel in front of him, the pilot offers him a chance to fly the plane himself.
Thank you! Paulsen's latest comes close to a classic teenage male fantasy of fleeing from home to seek independence and self. Both Terry's parents leave the same day; each phones asking him to tell the other. After handily putting it together and teaching himself to drive, the year-old heads west. He picks up Waylon, an aging, footloose vet whose psychic wounds date to carrying out termination orders against civilians in 'Nam as depicted in vignettes entitled "Memories," early on ; Waylon takes Terry to Wayne, a war buddy who tries to temper Waylon's sporadic rages against injustice.
Terry- A 14 year old boy waiting for a chance to get away from his current life syle . Waylon- A Vietnam war Veteran who doesn't know what he.
managing organizational change a multiple perspectives approach 2nd edition
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The Car by Gary Paulsen
Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book. This was a very quick read and ended up being okay. This is about a 14 year old boy who parents leave him. He ends up building a car from a car kit and decides to head West on an adventure. On the way he meets some old vets and they end up showing him some old time sites that drive home what it means to be an American.
The Car is a novel by Gary Paulsen. Terry Anders is a fourteen-year-old boy who lives in Cleveland, Ohio. When both of his parents abandon him, he decides to go on a cross country adventure to find an uncle that he vaguely remembers after assembling his father's abandoned Blakely Bearcat kit car project. Along the way he befriends two Vietnam vets, Waylon and Wayne, with whom he enjoys life on the open road. This book is about their adventure together as they travel across the country.
Please enter the email address that you use to login to TeenInk. The book, The Car, is written by Gary Paulsen. He builds a car, packs up all the things he thinks he will need, and heads out. Throughout his journey, he meets a man named Waylon who is all about learning and who has lived by hitchhiking and trucking and knows everything that there is to know about being on the road. I think the theme of this book is to keep going no matter what happens. And having his only friend move away.