Thursday, July 3, 2014

PT Cruiser USA gets Poetic and Personal with "Cruisin to the Finish Line: Ambitions of a Rider"

PT Cruiser USA's second book, "Cruisin to the Finish Line: Ambitions of a Rider," is a confrontational-seeming show-and-tell of the open stream-of-conscious storytelling that is the mind of an automobile with a Twitter account. While PT Cruiser USA's first book, "Cruisin to the Finish Line: Speed Secrets," was an exciting, hilarious romp detailing the car's self-made celebrity, her sophomore effort backs things up a bit. In many ways, the clean-cut "Speed Secrets" was the journey of how PT Cruiser USA came to be who she is today: the Top Car On Twitter with a formidable fan base. The follow up reveals a more intimate view of the car's life. "Ambitions of a Rider" reads rather like the observations, reflections, and rants of an ever-aware young car-person. While "Speed Secrets" reads like prose blog posts, "Ambitions of a Rider" is much more like poetry, given the book's Twitter feed-like style and structure.

PT Cruiser USA's avowed belief in ghosts is attested to in the chapters "spanish ghost" and "ghost hit & run," both of which detail two separate hauntings. "bathroom," "cd gym class," and other chapters recount creepy or spooky instances or coincidences from the car's life. A recurrent motif throughout "Ambitions of a Rider" is the retelling of her past in high school. PT Cruiser USA shares awkward exchanges and interesting yarns in six of these chapters. In "Nutella," PT Cruiser USA shares a hilarious story of how she lucked into acquiring 4 large jars of the chocolaty paste and "parking space" shows the car fighting tyrannical, high school authority.

A second and more prevalent motif/theme throughout "Ambitions of a Rider" is PT Cruiser USA's fascination and occasional interaction with R&B culture and it's singer/songwriters. As a car who exclusively watches VH1 Soul, there are many observations, thoughts, and opinions expressed on the culture of and big names in the modern R&B world. In "kayne west" and "robin thicke," the car rants and reveals her insights on the musical careers and personal lives of the two performers. "keyshia cole pt. 2" sees the continuation of the vendetta between that tacky singer and our beloved Top Car On Twitter. The final chapter in the book, "brandy," is an interesting combination of the car's spooky coincidences, her R&B preferences, and (college) classroom antics.

Personally, i was pleased to see the addition of "body party," a recurrent livetweeting event that occurs in the car's Twitter feed whenever she happens to watch the music video for Ciara's "Body Party" on VH1 Soul. She repeats the same lines each and every time, and if she is watching VH1 Soul for several hours, these repeated tweets may happen several times throughout the day. Continuing events, such as livetweeting the "Body Party" music video, have contributed to PT Cruiser USA's internet status and celebrity. In keeping with the poetry/Twitter feed-like style of the book, the inclusion of "body party" was, i thought, appropriate and hilarious. Another chapter i loved was "white people." As a white person, i know how obnoxious white people can be. (In truth, i like using the words "bougie" or "faggy" to describe very white-acting persons, depending on whether he/she is acting like a rich snob or a fragile flower, respectively.) So reading PT Cruiser USA's list poem of stereotypical white person sayings and actions was hilarious, and a truthful representation of white people who express themselves online.

The only piece that seemed unnecessary was "list of hot guys thoroughly explained." This list had already been used in "Speed Secrets," so to include the chapter again was trying to the reader's patience. Yet, even this chapter is redeemed somewhat by the fact that the reasons given for finding these men "hot" helps to reveal PT Cruiser USA's inherently interesting personality. Another, better chapter that reveals insights into the mind of the Top Car On Twitter was "things i like." This chapter has entries such as animals, boys, and livetweeting, and many of these entries are given their own chapters throughout the book, making "Ambitions of a Rider" a more interconnected whole than it at first seems to be. The last thing that the car likes, however, is "being me." And for good reason: PT Cruiser USA is a unique individual, one worthy of following/watching/hearing. Her personality and her life is revealed to us in her books, her blog posts, and her Twitter feed. She is certainly worth following and watching, given her reflective, personal stories and her hilarious, no-punches-pulled internet presence.

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