Henry Gregor Felsen Howard Pease - Essay

Howard Pease

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

Shocking and tragic yet true to fact, this story about teenage drivers ["Hot Rod"] is certain to rouse wide interest. Bud Crayne, a hot-rod enthusiast, owned a souped-up car that could race a hundred miles an hour and elude pursuing cops. Bud laughed at danger, and so did his girl friend, LaVerne…. When a younger boy tried to ape Bud's method of driving and lost his life, Bud for the first time began to question his own attitude toward the law.

Bud and LaVerne are real teen-agers. Their story is packed with action and suspense. One of the best things in the book is this boy-girl relationship, which Mr. Felsen handles with frankness and good taste.

One teen-age driver who read this story found it "the real thing," exciting and realistic, though he felt that toward the end it came close to being a tract on safety. If so, this is because Mr. Felsen laudably shows the methods pioneered by the Des Moines Safety Council in meeting the problem, a yearly "roadeo" which could well be copied by other communities. An imperative book for high school libraries, "Hot Rod" should be read by adults as well as by young people.

Howard Pease, "Teen-Age Drivers," in The New York Times Book Review (© 1950 by The New York Times Company; reprinted by permission), July 30, 1950, p. 16.