Wednesday, April 26, 2023

Big Rig, by Louise Hawes

Hazel (or as she likes to call herself, “Hazmat”) and her father are creatures of the road, making a living as long haul truckers.  While only eleven, Hazmat already knows how to keep travel logs and manage the business.  She knows all about loading and unloading cargo.  She even understands the theory of how to operate a truck (although she’ll have to be 18 before she can apply for her CDL).  She loves everything about the job and the lifestyle.

But things are changing and she worries that automation will end the use of human operators and there may not be jobs for her in the future.  That may be far-fetched worry, but she also knows that her Dad wants to find them a stable home now that she’s about to become a teenager.  The trouble is that she doesn’t want to ever settle down to a house in the burbs with a frilly bed in a pink bedroom.  She’s rather live free on the road.

A bit thin on an overall plot, the book consists mostly of vignettes (some of them quite outlandish) that fill the pages but don’t really advance the story.  I liked the characters, but when we’re adopting cats who survive plane crashes and rescuing a group of special needs children from flood waters, I have to start questioning the realism of the story.  It's a fast entertaining read that taught me a bit about the trucking lifestyle and the basics of the business, but didn’t have a compelling dramatic arc to carry it through. 

1 comment:

Test said...

I really liked the idea of a middle grade book set on the road, but your review delineated why I didn't like it as much as I wanted to. Too many far fetched anecdotes. My students are still enjoying it, though.