The Ferrari in the Bedroom (Jean Shepherd 1921-1999) - Doubleday - 1972 - 270 pages

I first met Shepherd in the pages of Playboy when I was in college (1964-1969).  His nostalgic, semi-autobiographic stories ("Leopold Doppler and the Orpheum Gravy Boat Riot," "Ollie Hopnoodle's Haven of Bliss," "Wandy Hickey's Night of Golden Memories," etc.) about his Midwest childhood in the 1930s were quite clever and entertaining.  I later learned that these magazine articles were mostly retellings of his radio monologues.  Eventually, many of the stories were repurposed into a movie screenplay (A Christmas Story) in 1983 that has become his most popular and lasting legacy.  However, it seems that Shepherd's career waned after the success of his screenplay and narration of the 1983 movie.  "The Ferrari in the Bedroom" is a collection of 21 magazine articles of which only four (three in Car & Driver and one in National Lampoon) were printed in national publications.  The other 17 were apparently rejected and for good reason.  The 1972 book seems to be an attempt to cash his Playboy chips with fans of previous articles.  The book is primarily a disappointment in that regard.  The most interesting story ("An Independent Survey Today Announced ...") to me has the author predicting the advent of "driverless autos" in 1972.  But, he thought it was just a joke.  The major impression I received from Shepherd's rejected articles is that he was a dedicated right-winger by the time he reached his 50s with an obvious disdain for liberal or progressive individuals or ideas.  His bitterness for the actions of younger generations is loud and clear in this volume.  Although Shepherd was unable to match the success of A Christmas Story in his later years, his contributions to classic humor are significant.  My recommendation is that you watch the movie again and skip this book.  [JAM 5/15/2018]