10-4 and I’m Gone

Frederic Harrop

Publisher: Xlibris Pages: 144 Price: (paperback) $24.19 ISBN: 9781493132935 Reviewed: April, 2016 Author Website: Visit »

In 10-4 and I’m Gone, Frederic Harrop describes a life in the trucking industry and his time as a musician.

Harrop was born in New Zealand but identifies as an Aussie. He learned to drive ever-larger trucks as a young child; a school friend’s father owned a hauling business and let the boys take the vehicles out and around the property, and a career was born. Driving in Australia and the U.S. and traveling to play country music, Harrop has seen much of the world and shares his tales here.

Harrop has a sense of humor and clearly enjoys his role of raconteur. Unfortunately, his book suffers from several flaws. The text has no chapter breaks, and stories can jump several years and a continent or two in the space of a paragraph, which is disorienting and distracting. Even the author admits that editing is an issue: “I must apologise for my brain; it was out to lunch when I wrote that part about the store in Ogallala, Nebraska. It’s in Sidney…”

Of more concern is a streak of racist commentary. The author complains about truck stops run by “ethnics,” repeatedly uses the word “Negro,” includes an ugly rant about his distaste for “people from the East” and often employs stereotypical dialect. He relates how he once parked his truck with its exhaust pipe facing the bedroom window of Indian neighbors, boasting that he “got them” with a huge plume of black exhaust. Such anecdotes create a highly unsympathetic view of the author.

General readers are unlikely to be satisfied by this scattered narrative and its potentially offensive content. However, Harrop writes that he’s penning this book for posterity as a gift to his family. Those relatives who share his sense of humor and worldview may appreciate the keepsake.

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