Klector’s unusual novel presents the first story of the Yellow Truck series and follows the truck’s travails when he returns to his homeland after losing his wheels in a war.
The brave, trusting vehicle always sees the best in those around him, sometimes when he shouldn’t. Yellow’s resounding optimism leads him to believe he can be a race truck even after his wheels have been replaced by feet. Yellow hires a pit crew, led by Billy Tuneup, a cad who finds sport in loving and leaving women, especially married women. Billy seems to get his way in all things, especially after he acquires a special toolbox, ruining the business of mechanic Rodney Rebuild. Klector’s tale offers some fun characters, but none better than Yellow Truck and Billy Tuneup. Readers will find Yellow’s optimism and Billy’s bad-to-the-bone demeanor fun to track. The real story happens between brave, ethical Rodney and no-good Billy. Billy tries to seduce Rodney’s wife. Rodney easily wins the fight for his wife’s affections, but he struggles to save his business. At times, the novel investigates so many different stories and themes it becomes a challenge to follow, but it all comes back to the Yellow Truck at the end. Some characters’ qualities mysteriously disappear, including Yellow’s prophetic poetry skills. The target audience for this book is unclear. Adults may dismiss the simple, childlike prose and story elements, such as singing flowers, but certain themes (adultery, philandering) don’t lend themselves to the young-adult reader either. However, the simplicity of the prose makes this book all the more powerful, and so this may hamper the marketing, but the story stands strong.
The story of Yellow Truck delivers a fun, very different, ride.