Sunday, November 30, 2008

The Car Thief

Writer and Flint Expatriate Velvet Cyberpunk extols the virtues of a fine example of Flint fiction:
"When I was growing up in my hometown of Flint Michigan I would watch TV, go to movies, and read books and they would be set in lots of different towns in the U.S.. I noticed that lots of towns some of them pretty small and obscure to be represented in the arts. Flint however, was mostly ignored, (except for the TV program called The Fitzpatricks an hour long drama series set in Flint about a steel worker and his family...wha?). Then, when I was in high school I came across a book by Theodore Weesner called The Car Thief. It is set in the early 60s and while it is never called by name the city in which the novel is set is clearly Flint. The road names, the descriptions and the landmarks are all Flint. Of course I was quite happy to read this book because I had always wondered why Flint wasn't used more often in fiction, or as a setting for TV and movies. We certainly have an interesting mix of people, and a colorful history. Well I started reading the book and my excitement that it was set in Fling was replaced by the excitement that the books was really well written and the story was amazing. One of the best novels I've ever read. I often list it as one of my favorites.

"It's about Alex, a boy who lives alone with his alcoholic factory worker father. Alex is troubled since his mother left and spends his free time stealing cars and taking them on joy rides around the city. Soon he's caught for one of the thefts and is sentenced to spend time at the juvenile Detention Center on Pasadena Ave. The book is sad, and really a wonderful story. I recommend it to anyone who enjoys a good book about coming of age, or if you're from Flint and want to read a good book set in our hometown."


  1. I've never heard of this book and am really glad to have the tip - thanks!

  2. Me too - I'm headed to

  3. That is a wonderful book, and I often recommend it to my students. Nobody seems to have heard of it -- it can be hard to find. Does anybody know if Weesner is still alive?

  4. I really enjoyed this book, I read it when I was in high school back in the 70s. The Flint Public Library had a copy of it. Theodore Weesner is still alive.

  5. Würstside WarlørdDecember 4, 2008 at 7:35 PM

    Weesner's Winning the City is even better. Junior High basketball at Longfellow and other shennanigans. Theres an interview with him from some old early 90s fanzine. I'll try to dig it up.

  6. We did an interview by mail with Mr. Weesner (mind you, this was before email hit big) for the UM-Flint literary magazine Kwasind back in 1990. My favorite quote is him calling Roger & Me a "sicko pondscum performance by Mr. Moore, a plundering really of a mortally wounded beast otherwise called Flint." Yowza.


Thanks for commenting. You might enjoy my book about Flint called "Teardown: Memoir of a Vanishing City," a Michigan Notable Book for 2014 and a finalist for the 33rd Annual Northern California Book Award for Creative NonFiction. Filmmaker Michael Moore described Teardown as "a brilliant chronicle of the Mad Maxization of a once-great American city." More information about Teardown is available at