Sixteen year-old Alex Riley’s top priorities in life are to find his long-absent father and a girl with a decent set of breasts. But his mother has a knack for sabotaging his plans. To advance her political career, she takes in an elderly black man named Lester Bray. Lester arrives with a vintage Cadillac and an old man's personality. It takes only a week for Alex's mother to ask Lester to leave. That makes Alex angry. On the morning of his eviction, Lester and Alex set out on a road trip, ostensibly to find the boy's father in Fort Lauderdale. But the two don't just head south. They also cross through un-navigated political, racial, and personal territory. A wild ride, Cadillac Chronicles explores what it means tofinallyfind a real friend.
Brett Hartman lived an unremarkable life in Fort Lauderdale until May 18, 1983, when he was arrested for aggravated battery. While away at Auburn University, he suffered a psychotic breakdown and months of intensive treatment. Though he made a full recovery, the events of that period never left him. He continued his education at Indiana State, where he received a doctorate in clinical psychology; he has worked as a psychologist ever since. His memoir Hammerhead 84 covers his journey through the mental health industry. Cadillac Chronicles is his debut novel. He lives in Albany, New York, with his wife and their two sons.
About the Author
Brett Hartman lived an unremarkable life in Fort Lauderdale until May 18th, 1983 when he was arrested for aggravated battery. While away at Auburn University, he suffered a psychotic breakdown and months of intensive treatment. Though he made a full recovery, the events of that period never left him. He continued his education at Indiana State, where he received a doctorate in clinical psychology; he has worked as a psychologist ever since. He discovered a passion for writing while working on his memoir, Hammerhead 84, which covers his journey through the mental health industry. Cadillac Chronicles is his debut novel. He lives in Albany, New York with his wife, Sarah, and their two sons, Benjamin and Nicholas.
What People are Saying About This
"[F]resh and gritty The mix of humor, gravity, and angst will keep readers engaged, and this debut novel has enough of all three elements to appeal to reluctant and eager male readers alike." School Library Journal, starred review
"Angry, just-turned-16-year-old Alex, a white boy, and equally angry but very old Lester, a black man, are unlikely road-trip buddies in this novel that transcends its conventions Alex learns to drive, comes to understand a little of the hard truth of race in postCivil Rightsera America and spectacularly loses his virginity in a scene that will surprise readers as much as Alex If there's little doubt about the end of the trip, readers will be happy they've gone along for the ride." Kirkus Reviews
"Lester and Alex from Cadillac Chronicles are going to live in my literary memory for a long, long time. I think they are two of most likable folks to come along in young adult books for awhile." Connie Griffin, Bookworks Independent Bookstore
"This road-trip novel is full of humor and surprises that make it a delightful read for teenage boys and many girls as well." Lyn Miller-Lachmann, Albany Times-Union
"Hartman makes his YA debut with a hard-hitting road trip novel that’s unafraid to show the ugly sides of American life the self-knowledge and maturity Alex gains during his travels leave room for hope." Publishers Weekly
"Cadillac Chronicles by Brett Hartman is, on the surface, a journey by car to the South. But it is much, much more. It is a story of growing up. It's about growing old. It's about family. It's about loyalty. And most of all, it's about friendship What makes this book such an engrossing read is the relationship between the young, angry, insecure Alex and the old, sick, angry Lester. But be forewarned, the book is not for the squeamish. There is a lot of profanity. There is sex and there are many references to young men's ability to form instant erections. To most, these references will just serve to make the book more authentic." Examiner.com
"Cadillac Chronicles is a fine addition to young adult fiction collections, a solid coming-of-age story, highly recommended." Midwest Book Review
"What’s fresh is the scene where Alex confronts his psychiatrist; his critique is devastating, timely, and on point, and it will give readers something to cheer about." Bulletin of the Center for the Children's Book