It’s hard being a single-dad raising a son—especially if your kid is also a 1971 Volkswagen Beetle.
There’s nothing more troubling than having your child break down on the side of the road, leaking oil, overheating, and asking tough questions like, “What is death?” and “Why did Mom leave?”
But stay calm!
Because How To Keep Your Volkswagen Alive is not only a dizzyingly beautiful novel, it’s also a handy manual with useful chapters on “Tools and Spare Parts,” “Valve Adjustment,” “How To Read This Novel,” and, most important of all, “How Works a Heart.”
Welcome to Christopher Boucher’s zany literary universe, a place where metaphors shift beneath your feet, familiar words assume new meanings, objects talk, trees attack, and time actually is money. Modeled on the cult classic 1969 hippie handbook of the same name, How To Keep Your Volkswagen Alive is an astonishing tour-de-force that tackles some of life’s biggest questions: How do you cope with losing a parent? What’s the secret to raising a child? How do you keep love alive? How do you get your car to start?
Publisher: Melville House
Publication date: August 9th 2011
I bought this book as the blurb sounded quirky and different from anything I had ever encountered before. I was intrigued to see what the book was like. It wasn’t long before I discovered what the book was like and it wasn’t a positive impression that it left on me.
It opened with a birthday party scene where the main character was in the park with his ‘son’ who was the Volkswagon celebrating his birthday. The main character though appeared to be human but the author had given the car human traits and personalities. Then a little bit later we have a story about the main character meeting his Dad in a café for lunch or the like. His Dad apparently arrived in an invisible car (my head was spinning by this stage), and then the author talks about how his Dad was attacked by a Heart Attack Tree. By this stage I couldn’t cope with the story any longer. I was way more confused than I felt comfortable with. Needless to say I couldn’t keep reading the book so I had to stop reading it.
The biggest problem with this book was not that it used metaphor (and I suspect a lot of other English tools to make the story unique) but that it appeared to overuse metaphor. There was so much metaphor that it confused the whole story, for me at least. Unfortunately, I won’t be reading any more of this author’s books anytime soon by choice. Very disappointing venture into finding another new author to add to my repertoire.
Recommend for: Anyone who likes the overuse of metaphor