This book will appeal to two groups; truckers - and the majority of the rest of us who could not be strong armed into getting behind the wheel of a semi for all the tea in China (that's me). Both groups will find themselves smiling at every paragraph, chuckling at every page and laughing out loud at least once every chapter. And not because Steele makes truck driving seem easy but rather that it leaves no doubt, anywhere, as to how difficult it really is, especially for a diminutive, middle aged English woman driving in the great white north known as Canada, and in the U.S.
Steele takes us along for the entire ride, from when the idea first occurred to her, through every lesson and every escapade, to the day she hung up her pink brimmed baseball cap for the last time. All of this is accomplished with a droll wit, humour and honesty that is both refreshing and appealing. I'm not kidding about how many laughs there are. Steele knows how to look at life and at herself in a way that makes the most hair-raising situation funny. The whole time I was sitting holding my breath (something Steele had to keep reminding herself NOT to do) waiting for the worst,like waiting to drive off a cliff in the Rockies or backing blind into a spot with only an inch wiggle room, I was also smiling or laughing. One would think those two cannot happen in the same sentence. They can and they do. Steele kept me both on the edge of my seat and in stitches at the same time up to the last page.
Some of the funniest moments did not occur behind the wheel. Picture being a woman, with no toilet available for the next 2 hours, and temperatures so cold your "wee" freezes before it hits the ground as you hang by the side of your truck with your backside exposed. Now that's intrepid.
Memories are not usually my genre, but I had a blast with this book! Author Carolyn Steele, a Brit transplant to Canada currently in her 50s, decides to learn to drive an 18-wheeler and start a new career. And she does it! She survives trucking school, the occasional Neanderthal trainer, multiple border crossings between the US and Canada (complete with border bureaucracy), fog, ice, fellow drivers, the occasional Neanderthal driving partner, and trucking companies that sometimes think driving a monster vehicle 14 hours straight (the limits of the looser laws) isn't quite enough.
The book offers plenty to chuckle over (sometimes while tearing your hair!) and Ms Steele has won my profound respect for her daring, sense of humor, and writing skills. And she can actually back one of those things up into a narrow loading bay!
This book is a definite "YES!"
I did not expect to like this book nearly as much as I did. I thought it might be interesting, be a fun romp, but it was so much more. I learned a LOT (who’da thunk it?) and had a ball along the way. Carolyn writes in an easy style where you can absolutely hear the English accent, hear the droll emphasis, hear the sarcasm as well as the gentle humor. All along the way, she takes the reader on her roller-coaster ride of a second (third?) career change, and we feel everything she is feeling: the ups, the downs, the crushing failures, the soaring successes. This book is a lot of fun, and very worth the read.