“I know something now that I didn’t before. The worst stories are the ones you’ve heard your whole life. Those are the real nightmares.”
I really liked this book because the whole concept was really unique. No one really writes a book about hitchhiking. The story grabs you by the throat from the first lines, because it has such a true feel to it. Stephen succeeds in giving Alan Parker such a believable background, that when the hammer hits the pain is extremely powerful. At the end the story struggles a bit, but since it gives you something nasty to think about it still stays bearable.
There were hidden messages through out the book and the details and ongoing journey made it interesting. In addition, this is a very short read that didn’t drag on whatsoever, so if you don’t have much time but want to read something unique and interesting, then this is probably the book for you.
College student Alan Parker receives a call from his mother’s neighbor telling him that Mrs. Parker has had a stroke and he needs to come home. Alan’s car is out of commission so he decides to hitch a ride to the hospital in Lewiston, Maine.
“ I’d hitchhike down to Lewiston, then out to our little house in Harlow if it wasn’t too late. If it was, I’d snooze in one of the hospital lounges. It wouldn’t be the first time I’d ridden my thumb home from school. Or slept sitting up with my head leaning against a Coke machine, for that matter. ”
He is offered a ride by a man with an odd smell about him and soon Alan notices the stitch marks around the man’s neck which can only mean the gentleman’s head was reattached to his body at one point.
” Not a single light out there except for the moon. The trees rushed by, writhing like spontaneous dancers at a tent-show revival. The road rushed under us. I looked at the speedometer and saw he was up to eighty miles an hour. We were riding the bullet right now , he and I; the dead drive fast.”
Unsurprisingly Alan desperately wants out of the car but the driver asks Alan if he has ever ridden the Bullet, referring to a roller coaster in Laconia Park. Alan at first lies and says that he did but the man confronts Alan with the knowledge that Alan and his mother had stood in line for hours to ride the coaster when Alan was 12 years old but when their turn to board the ride was upon them Alan chickened out.
Out of frustration his mother struck him and they left the park soon after. Now the driver gives Alan a choice: the death of Mrs. Parker or the death of Alan.