Mike Klingenberg doesn't get why people think he's boring. Sure, he doesn't have many friends. (Okay, zero friends.) And everyone laughs at him when he reads his essays out loud in class. And he's never invited to parties - including the gorgeous Tatiana's party of the year.
Andre Tschichatschow, aka Tschick (not even the teachers can pronounce his name), is new in school, and a whole different kind of unpopular. He always looks like he's just been in a fight, his clothes are tragic, and he never talks to anyone.
But one day Tschick shows up at Mike's house out of the blue. Turns out he wasn't invited to Tatiana's party either, and he's ready to do something about it. Forget the popular kids: Together, Mike and Tschick are heading out on a road trip. No parents, no map, no destination. Will they get hopelessly lost in the middle of nowhere? Probably. Will they meet crazy people and get into serious trouble? Definitely. But will they ever be called boring again?
Wolfgang Herrndorf (1965-2013) was born in Hamburg, Germany, and studied painting before turning to writing later in his career. He wrote several award-winning novels for adults, and WHY WE TOOK THE CAR was the receipient of the German Youth Literature Award.
Why We Took the Car 3.7 out of 5based on
More than 1 year ago
So why not take the car? I really liked the concept behind this book and I really enjoyed the two main characters but it was the pace of the book that really blogged me down. I had been looking at this book sitting on our library’s shelf for the past couple weeks as I was volunteering and I just couldn’t take the pressure anymore, so I grabbed it. It was calling me. I really wanted to know why they took the car, where they went and who actually “they” were. The story had the making of a great adventure of two outcasts who were just looking for an adventure to call their own and this novel had it, they had an incredible trip, they really did but the pace of the novel was so slow and drawn out, I felt sorry for the two of them.
Mike wanted to be part of the in-crowd, he craves it but he has no friends. Tschick, doesn’t care what people think of him as he arrives at school in the same clothes every day, sometimes intoxicated. His peers are constantly tormenting him. Summer vacation is almost upon them and you knew that somehow the two of them would be united somehow. The freedom that is now granted to these boys does not formulate destruction and trouble, no these boys are calm in nature. The idea for their summer is slowly working out and it is not written in stone, it occurs as they go about their days. It’s the way they are when they are around each other; you can tell there was something special about their relationship. The boys are relaxed and comfortable, they didn’t have to converse all the time nor were they under pressure to impress each other, and they were content in each other’s company. They’re both knowledgeable sharing their skills and their stories, unfortunately some of the stories sound the same. It was their outlook on the beige people that had me smiling; the people on the bus how their lives used to be young and lively and now they were beige and faded. So, they needed to take the car. Was it right? Probably not but it sure added to their adventure. They were just two teens, trying to create their own adventure, something for the books without getting into too much trouble.
More than 1 year ago
More than 1 year ago
This novel captured my attention from the very first page as we meet our main character, Mike, in an interrogation room. He is very candid, and gives are overview of his surroundings, complete with the blood that is soaking through his shoes. When I first read that, I thought to myself that he was being overly dramatic, but readers soon find out that this is not the case, that there is literally blood soaking through his shoes… and then he passes out. Of course I wanted to know right away how Mike came to be in this situation, where the blood came from, what he had done to be detained by police; the usual questions, and so I began to tear through the pages, enamored by the story. But, whereas the beginning of the novel definitely has a hook, the middle soon began to lose my attention.
Mike and Andre decide to take a stolen car and just drive, for no real reason aside from boredom, a lack of parental supervision, and the hurt of not being invited to a specific party. So obviously the next best idea is to drive around in a stolen car, one you barely know how to drive, and to have no real destination in mind aside from leaving the town for a while. While Mike is a “follow the rules” sort of tween, Andre has been in his fair amount of trouble, coming to school drunk on many an occasion, stealing cars, etc. The two are not friends by a long shot, but suddenly Mike finds himself hoping into a stolen car joy riding. Perhaps his father leaving on “business,” his mother’s leaving for rehab, and his lack of an invite to the girl of his dreams party were the final straws for Mike, but for me, it was all somewhat unbelievable. The adventures the two share as well were a bit on the “I don’t think that’d happen” side, and so I soon began to lose interest in the novel, which is a shame because the beginning really intrigued me.
While the novel does come full circle, starting with the police station, back tracking to the events that lead up to the police station, and then surpassing it, in the end, I just wasn’t impressed with the reason behind Mike’s capture by police, or his antics thereafter in school. Perhaps it all just a bit too juvenile for me—I do think a MG reader would enjoy this novel straight through, but I definitely felt like it lost a lot of steam as it continued.
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