by Sev Pearman
We meet Eddie in Pittsburgh. He is in sixth grade and socially clueless. After being humiliated by a bully, he vows to toughen up and get cool, quick. Cool arrives through his cousin Mark and his ’71 Dodge Charger. Mark eagerly mentors his young cousin and introduces him to smoking, drinking, sex and motorhead culture.
Young Eddie wises up, toughens up, gets a bike, wrecks it and gets his heart broken. Advice on the repair of both is dispensed first by Mark, then by Eddie’s younger brother, Eric. Eddie’s world is that of ’80s pop culture. He listens to Guns-n-Roses, Bon Jovi and Springsteen. He watches “Footloose” and “Harley Davidson & the Marlboro Man.” One girlfriend is described as looking like “an ’80’s Like a Virgin Madonna.”
This is a coming-of-age story that any guy will love. I both laughed out loud and winced as I read Mr. Nazif’s descriptions of dating, riding, breaking up and wiping out.
You are unsure if this book is a memoir, fiction, plagiarism or complete B.S. Both the publisher and author include hilarious disclaimers as to its authenticity. I read Never Mind the Track as a collection of bench-racing tales and recollections of love lost. Some of it is undoubtedly true. Some may be stretched, ripped off or simply made-up, but I didn’t care. Like an allegory or a good bar story, it isn’t the specific details that matter. They simply serve to flesh out the theme or punch line.
Mr. Nazif captures the innocent motorcycling period sandwiched between the Easy Rider early-70s and today’s tribal motorcycle cultures. Eddie and his crew ride, steal or crash a Honda CL-350, a 2-stroke DKW, an 80’s Honda Hawk and a Yamaha XS-650. Modern hardware includes a Yamaha FZR-600, a ZX-10 and the mighty V-Max. UJMs include 2-valve Suzuki GSes and a 650 Honda Nighthawk. What does Eddie ride at the end of this book? You’ll have to read it to find out.
Like a big-tanked endurance racer that has been flogged for 100 laps, Never Mind the Track screams over the finish line, leaking oil on shagged tires. Best read, alone, in a working bar over black coffee, a pint of Guinness and a half-a-pack of Camel straights.
Salon.com reader – “Motorcycling sounds so decadent!”
MSF curriculum –Definitely not approved.
Oprah’s Book Club – Juvenile + adolescent. You’ll hate it
MMM welcomes your ideas for future book reviews. Send your suggestions to: firstname.lastname@example.org Please put “Book Review” in the subject heading.