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Hot Rod"Hot Rod"
by Henry Gregor Felsen
Bantam Books 1951
     There isn't much of a back cover, so here's the inside blurb: "Bud Crayne's motto was: 'When you get in a tight spot, use your head and DRIVE YOUR WAY OUT!'
He had the bold, relaxed assurance of one who knows the secret of success is power. When he got behind the wheel of his souped-up jalopy he knew he could count on his rod doing a sweet, easy 120 miles an hour. And he knew he could count on his trigger-fast reactions to drive his way out of trouble. The kids idolized him, his friends envied him, and La Verne Shuler was his girl.
But Bud Crayne had enemies, too. And when he got on the wrong side of the Law he was playing right into their hands."
     Remember back to your days in Driver's Education class watching safety films with titles like "Blood on the Asphalt" and "Drive Fast, Die Fast" ? Well, this book is the text equivalent of all those over-the-top, preachy, full-of-themselves films. The hero of the book likes to drive fast...and safe. But others around him are not so safety conscious. In the end, all the good boys and girls who signal before changing lanes and observe the rules of the road live. And to prove how safe they are, they have a  big driving contest called a "Roadeo." Get it? It's a rodeo, spelled like "road." They're safe--and witty!
     Unlike all those safe, young drivers, all the joyriders (which is everyone who haven't had the good sense to enroll in the school district- sanctioned driving program) die violently on the highway in a heap of scarp metal, blood, and dismembered body parts. Just to drill this point home, there is this statement just before the start of Chapter 1: "The problems in this book are true. The characters, places and accidents are fictional. The teen-age Roadeo described is based on a similar Roadeo devised by the Des Moines Safety Council and is described with their permission."
     Just think of Hot Rod as "Rebel With a Cause--for Safety!"


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