Review: Ride Like Hell and You’ll Get There: Detours into Mayhem by Paul Carter

Title: Ride Like Hell and You’ll Get There: Detours into Mayhem

Author: Paul Carter

Published: Allen and Unwin October 2013

Status: Read from October 21 to 23, 2013 — I own a copy {Courtesy the publisher}

My Thoughts:

A few years ago now I picked up Don’t Tell Mum I Work on the Rigs, She Thinks I’m a Piano Player in a Whorehouse by Paul Carter at the library on a whim. Part memoir, part travel diary Paul wrote about his adventures as an oil rigger around the world and I remember finding the anecdotes within to be oftentimes hilarious but also interesting.

In Ride Like Hell and You’ll Get There: Detours into Mayhem Pauli has grown older, if not quite up. Though now a middle aged, executive part owner of a successful oil-related company, and a happily married man with young children, British born/Australian resident Paul, continues to seek adventure and challenge, albeit a little closer to home.

Ride Like Hell and You’ll Get There chronicles,in the main, Paul’s efforts to race in Speed Week on a motorcycle (of sorts) engineered to run on bio-diesel fuel and go very fast on a salt lake in the middle of nowhere. Plagued by cancellations, logistical obstacles, lost keys and broken limbs, it takes three years before Paul finally gets a break.

Paul also writes of a motorcycle touring trip with a friend around Tasmania, a wild conference in the US and his temporary gig as a documentary presenter, marriage, fatherhood and business

Carter’s books could be accused of being juvenile and crude, and there is some truth to that. Reading Ride Like Hell and You’ll Get There is often like eavesdropping on a ‘boy’s’ only pub night, complete with poo jokes, copious amounts of alcohol, bad language and displays of machismo. Not everyone will appreciate Paul’s sense of humour but I found myself smiling widely often, even while occasionally shaking my head with a mixture of disbelief and wry contempt.
Yet Ride Like Hell and You’ll Get There is not all a ‘boys own adventure’, Paul also relates several serious moments though often tempered by the surreal, including suffering the side effects of food poisoning while his wife is in the throes of a miscarriage, a court case that drags on and on and on, and a ruined $1000 helmet thanks to a territorial dog and a potty training two year old.

I’m not that interested in motor racing or the specifics of alternate fuel (though I believe we should be investing in it) but I still enjoyed Ride Like Hell and You’ll Get There. It’s a quick read, mostly light and amusing and is as advertised -a detour into mayhem. I imagine this book will particularly find an audience amongst fans of the television show ‘Top Gear’ and its ilk and, with Christmas coming up, it would make a great stocking stuffer for your father/husband/brother etc.

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3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Annie
    Oct 26, 2013 @ 09:31:35

    I’m not that interested in motor racing either, which makes me wonder if I might be better off reading his earlier memoir? But this one does sound fun (despite the poo jokes) and I quite enjoy quirky biographical detours – Ruby Wax’s biography is one of my favourites. :-)

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