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Hopes and Dreams
Stuck on AutoDrive

by Eric Davis

      This first novel will definitely be noticed. Weighing in at approximately 3.8 pounds, Davisís Hopes and Dreams is, let me say first, hard to ignore.

The story begins with Ricky, the main character, dressed in a gorilla suit sitting on the steps of his friendís house.† His job is to meet and greet partygoers.† As he waits, passersby give him the once-over as he stands to harass attendees.† A car pulls up to the curb and a girl steps out.† Ricky knows immediately he has met the girl of his dreams.† They find themselves deep in conversation quickly.† Her name is Hope.

The story is also about the development of a new car that drives by itself, hence the subtitle, Stuck on Auto-Drive.† Ricky is the lead developer on the project.† As the story unfolds, he loses his job on the project but gains headway in his relationship with Hope.

This is a unique book, not only for its size but also for its content.† I am undecided about my review. The prose is short and succinct, almost too much so.† The sentences are choppy.† However, I assume this is intentional.† Still, it makes it somewhat difficult to read, and at times, I was not clear if it was tongue in cheek just for humorís sake.† One whole chapter is nothing but "BOM BOM BOM BOM" as the characters talk over the music in Pow Wowís.† It was my favorite chapter.† The writing style was really different.† I felt the drum beat and wanted to plug my ears just like the characters.

Nearly every chapter begins with the alarm clock going off and Rickyís sleepy-eyed search for his top sheet.† The story ends exactly where it began, with Ricky in a gorilla suit.† But, this time he is the cooperative guinea pig in his friendís short-term memory experiment.

I would read the afterword first to get acquainted with the information contained in the book.† The Glossary contains a plethora of uncommon words and definitions unique to this story.† The afterword states that the actual short-term memory formula is withheld from the book to keep anyone from stealing it, and the auto-drive car details have also been omitted.† Moreover, Lane of the University of Minnesota signs it.† Fact or fiction?† You are never sure.

It is classified fiction.† What makes the book interesting is uncertainty - even the cover reviews from a waiter and a mental health doctor.† Oh yes, and Davisís dentist put in a good word for him too.† Iíll let you decide this one.

The Book

AutoDrive; First edition
November 1, 2007
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The Reviewer

Nicole Merritt
Reviewed 2008
© 2008