Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Cars, Boys and Freedom

You never forget your first...car. Well, my son's first car is officially a goner. Purchased new by my mom in 1996, it was passed down first to my sister, next to my older son, and then to my younger son. We had so hoped it would last until he leaves for college in late August, but poor old Chrystal succumbed to a deadly mix of oil and antifreeze.

This got me thinking about what cars mean to boys. How cars mean way more than transportation. They mean freedom.

So I decided to give a car to a favorite boy of mine. Not my son. I adore the kid, but he'll have to share my Prius for the next four months. Nope. I'm giving a car to my main character.

One of my favorite books with a car as an important player is John Green's PAPER TOWNS. Quentin drives a lot. Unfortunately, he drive his mom's minivan. (Full disclosure, we have one of those, too.) And the scene where his parents finally give him a car of his own is laugh out loud funny. 

So for funsies, I'm giving my MC his own set of wheels. Now he can get around, get out of town, get into and out of more trouble than before.

My first car was a station wagon -- about as cool as a minivan in those days. But I loved it. Loved driving. Loved loading up the back seat with more friends than I should have and cruising about. 

Remember your first car?


  1. I absolutely remember my first car -- a red Duster (remember those?) that my father bought for $300. But it ran, and I loved it. Freedom is exactly the word I associate with it too. When I first got in to drive, with no adult in the car with me, I had the exhilarating thought 'I can go ANYWHERE' -- let your MC roam! That will be exciting.

  2. Oh, how I wished for a car when I was a teenager - alas, I had to depend on friends. It's a great idea to give one to your MC - gives him freedom and gives your plot ideas some roaming space also?

  3. First, love the idea of giving your character a car. I agree with Gale. What wonderful plot possibilities!

    Second, I was the odd teenager who did not want a car. I bummed rides off my friends whenever I could instead of borrowing the family car. Only really got confident with driving when I was in my 20's and I had to.

  4. I had to share my car with one or more of my sisters, but we somehow made it work. Although I'm sure there were arguments.

    As my MC is and only child, he won't have those problems!

  5. J.A Palermo,
    I love that you're giving a car to your MG main character instead of your son. Funny!

    Linda A.

  6. Ah, a gray, hand me down, VW Rabbit with a crank "sun roof", lol. Darn that thing was LOUD but it got me to back and forth to the beach quite often. And yes, total FREEDOM, but I was 21 when I got it. :)

    The male mc in my current novel is owner of a car I actually saw in a parking lot a few years ago. I swear this car looked like it could sit around the campfire and share stories. It just gave off this VIBE and I knew I'd use it someday. I came to know the person who owned the car and it so totally fit them. Strange and interesting! But I wonder would I have to put in one of those "any similarities" disclaimers?? Hope not :)

    And I love Linda A's comment above! Too funny, and A LOT cheaper :)

  7. I was 40 when I got my first car, a silver Honda Accord. I remember driving it on a suburban highway in New Brunswick vainly looking for a place to turn left. Sort of panicstricken. I didn't realize NJ was the Jughandle State. The best thing about cars is the freedom to go to the beach. I love Cooper and I'm psyched that he's going to have a car. Is he going to be the kind of kid who can do his own mechanic work? iI could kind of see that.

  8. My first car was a minivan. I had a nice run with it during my college days. It really made my school days a bit more convenient. :) I had to bring loads of material and school projects, and having a spacious ride was indeed a big help. Hmm. Oh you had station wagon? Did you know that it originated from trucks that eventually evolved to its figure today? It does have a two-box design configuration that makes it flexible for the volume, and passenger and cargo access.

    Dante Mallet

  9. I remember clearly what my first car looked like because it still in my garage, LOL! I just can’t seem to find it my heart to get rid of my Chevrolet Cavalier. I got it before I went to college, and I have driven it for five whole years. It still runs by the way but I rarely use it now. I now drive a MINI Hatchback and sometimes, I miss the old Chevy especially when I drive to town.

    Tyra Shortino