Wednesday, May 12, 2010

The Naked Bus Driver, written by Marshall B Allen Jr, is a partially fiction, partially true account of the life of Newton D. Fiveash, a Greyhound Bus driver as well as the developer and owner of Chinkapin Ranch, a landed nudist park near Lake City, Florida. Allen takes us through Newt’s life from beginning to end, from South Georgia farm boy to Tarzan stand-in to navy man, to bus driver. And if that’s not crazy enough, from bus driver… to butt naked! At a rest stop one day, Newt finds a copy of Sunshine and Health Magazine, and gets hooked. Even married to a strict Catholic wife, he cannot restrain himself from his love for nudism. Then one fine day, Newt visits Lake Como nudist colony, only to realize that his life as a nudist had just begun! The rest of the story leads the reader through Newt’s dream of opening a successful nudist colony of his own, Chinkapin Ranch, a place where many believe, just as Michelagnelo said, that, “The foot is more noble than the shoe, and the skin is more beautiful than the garmet with which it is clothed” (Allen 182).

I personally found this book to be a letdown. Though fast paced and exciting at the beginning, the middle and end were quite a drag. I had the feeling that I was listening to my grandfather drone on through his stories rather than an author telling a tale. Many of the middle chapters seemed pointless, and could have been edited out, in my opinion. Also, the book was jam-packed with grammatical errors and typos, which was very unprofessional.

Despite my negative criticism, I have positive criticism as well. This book was very unique and down to earth. Since the book was based off a real man and his acquaintances, the characters of the novel came off very realistic and relatable. I also liked the light in which nudism was portrayed in the novel. The subject was neither condemned nor gratified. Instead, the novel showed nudism as simply another way to live, sometimes frustrating, and sometimes rewarding.

Allen, Marshall B. The Naked Bus Driver. Augusta: Harbor house, 2005. Print.

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