This book right here…can’t recommend it highly enough. If you have any link to Sweden at all, you’ll especially enjoy it. It will make you laugh. Not only little chuckles, but full-body, catch-you-off-guard, laugh-out-loud guffaws that will make you feel like you’re with a friend.
And in the same kind of way, it’ll make you cry. Expertly. By saying things like, “There were probably people who thought there was no connection between cars and emotions,” and you just nod along like you know what’s coming, thinking something like, “That Ove and his silly Saab obsession…” And then you’ll read a whole chapter, laughing your ass off about the competition between the male neighbors…one upgrading his Saab…the other upgrading his Volvo…and then the reasons behind buying certain models, attached to dreams of children and needs for wheelchairs…and a sporty BMW after you realize the only kid you’re ever gonna have has flown the coop never to return…and the author lets you sit with that for awhile. Sit with all the decisions made between why you buy one kind of car over another. And then he writes, “So there were certainly people who thought that feelings could not be judged by looking at cars. But they were wrong.”
And it’s not the kind of chapter ending that makes you want to keep reading, it’s the ending that makes you think about all the cars that ever had meaning in your life…
My dad working on Volkswagens my whole childhood.
The car that hit my brother.
The van my dad bought to carry his wheelchair in.
The modifications he made to vehicles to make them usuable for a family with a kid in a wheelchair.
Mudding under giant bridges.
Late night drive-in movies. Pretending to be asleep when the “adult” movie came on. Listening to the audio from the speaker hanging on the window, but also the people screaming at each other from the other cars. The laughing. The couple walking by with the popcorn. The kids running around in the empty places. The random cars driving away during the show.
Learning how to drive an automatic in a Jetta.
Learning how to drive a stick.
The VW bug that was my first car.
The blue cavalier that put me in debt.
That pretty (orange) red mustang. That old check with the granny gear…the one my husky got to ride in the back of. Still miss that girl. That road trip she and I took, where we split a pepperoni pizza. The make-out sessions. The sneaking out. My first baby in a car seat. The road trips with the music fucking up and the windows rolled down and the times on the side of the road…the traffic…damn, did you know you could get nostalgic for traffic??!!
My mom rear-ending someone. My son getting scared when someone rear-ended us. Tailgating concerts we couldn’t afford.
Yeah. Cars and emotions? I get it.