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Crashing Party Crashing

Rant is in my top five for sure, most likely at number five. Thing is, what I liked most about Rant happened in the first 100 pages. Those pages were filled with Chuck's trademark humor, his wildly obscure facts and wonderful asides. Those pages were chock-a-block with Chuck's "burnt tongue" minimalist style and in those pages it worked well. I was engaged and laughing out loud and holding down my lunch.

Thing is, when we get to the city and really get into the Party Crashing scene the book lost steam. Problem is, Party Crashing just doesn't seem that dangerous. Seriously. And the fact that it's real, that kids in Portland and Seattle are really doing it, makes it so much tamer. Sure, Chuck plays up the transgressive elements of the activity. Oh yeah, crashing into another person's car [I]can[/I] be dangerous and thrilling -- a shot of adrenalin. But at the same time the rules of the game and the kitschy nature of the teams just takes the air out of it. It takes it from the "religious experience" of a possibly life shattering impact to a simple "tag" in a series of bumps. Only every now and then is there some over-the-top wreck. The carnage covered by Tina Something is interesting (I kept thinking of the DJ in [I]The Warriors[/I]) but it seems removed. The Party Crashers we hang with didn't get in those accidents. They didn't have punctured lungs and missing limbs. The only big-time crash ups that we read about that involve the central characters, those all end up with no one in the car. Empty cars and empty crashes.

How great would it have been if Party Crashing was really fucking dangerous? If Shot Dunyun had lost an arm in a particularly terrible wreck? If Neddy Nelson was in a neck brace and had no teeth? Ånyone see that flick[I] Highwaymen[/I]? It was a direct to video (at least here in the States) by the director of the original [I]Hitcher[/I]. Anyway, plot revolved around a serial killer using a '72 El Dorado to kill his victims. This guy, the serial killer, is ([B]major spoiler[/B]) a total mechanical freak -- he's been in so many bad accidents that's he's practically grafted to the inside of his car. Neck brace, arm braces, artificial limbs, the man's a Frankenstein's monster of metal and looks like he's the king of what Party Crashing should be.

I wanted demolition derby not bumper cars.