Sunday, April 22, 2007

Book Club: Big Rig 2

Big Rig 2
More comic tales from a long haul trucker
Don McTavish, 2003
Lone Pine Publishing, Edmonton, Canada

I picked this book up at one of SFU's annual United Way booksales, at which books donated to the charity sell for one or two dollars, or less. There's a sticker on the back that says 50 cents, but it's also possible I got this book at the very end of the last day, when all books go for ten-in-a-bag-for-one-dollar. At such times, my tastes expand to a remarkable degree, since I'll often find myself with seven or eight books and a realization that two or three more will cost no more, since a bag of books costs one dollar if it contains one book or ten.

This is a series of anecdotes by a man who recently retired from driving trucks, principally between Edmonton and Vancouver. The familiarity of many of the places that feature in the story was a big part of the entertainment for me, as it is very rare for me to read anything, fiction or non-, that takes place in or near someplace I've actually lived. Beyond that, there isn't much to recommend this book. I learned a little about the business of trucking, and some of the technology involved, and how that has changed since Mr. McTavish started in 1958. Some of the stories were mildly funny, but most are introduced as "knee-slappers" or there is some reference to spraying one's beverage, hype that most stories fail to deliver on. The style of writing is somewhat strange. Besides being rather different from what I usually read (i.e. science fiction written before the year 2000 and non-fiction written by academics), I was never sure of the intended audience. Some references appeared to be directed squarely at the general public, while others seemed aimed at other truckers with varying amounts of experience. Occassionally, these two target audiences would be mentioned in the same sentence.

For a similar price, I'd gladly pick up the first volume, since I was entertained by this book, but I don't think I'd pay full retail for it.

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