CCD Book Review- Scream if You Wanna Go Faster

More in Arts: CCD Presents: Poetry by Donna Wallace February 16, 2017 CCD Presents: Waiting – a Short Story by Tony Lindsay January 19, 2017 ...

by Camel City Dispatch

By Chad Nance


If you’re having a conversation with someone and they say something to you like:

“I wish there was a real literary scene here in Winston.”


“There are writers here, but it is just old grannies or vanity projects.”

Or even:

“Our local writers are just a bunch of wannabes.”

If that is the case in any way your next move needs to be that you never, and I mean never, talk to that person again. That person you are speaking with is an idiot- a completely clueless moron who would know a good book if it was nailed into their forehead with a railroad spike.

This book review of a work by a local author will be the first of many more here at CCD. The bench is deep in Camel City, friends & neighbors, and it is time that Winston-Salem at-large discovered the rich and diverse literary tradition that is being created right here, right now.

scream if you wanna go faster
scream if you wanna go faster

Wade Beauchamp’s “Scream if you Wanna go Faster” is a novel that reeks of WD-40, turtle wax, and the unmistaken smell of gasoline. I don’t mean that watered down, cheap shit that’s half canola oil and half dirty, Canadian crude they give us these days. I mean the good stuff- the high-test petrol that fed the great American beasts who used to tear ass up and down the two-lane highways. Beauchamp’s book is a travelogue along the back-side of the American Century when the American Dream proved illusionary even while the old instincts and aspirations still stirred in the breasts of young men and women and those very dreams were personified by the automobile.

In “Scream” that car is a Ford Galaxie 500 XL Sport Roof painted Rangoon red, sporting a 390 cubic inch engine, and she rolled off of the Detroit factory line in 1963. Beauchamp uses the chain of ownership on the particular car to take the reader through time and in and out of the lives of it’s owners allowing the author to tell some very specific and personal narratives while still keeping a handle on the passage of time and the changing of the epoch as the 20th Century gives way to something entirely uncertain.

Beauchamp’s claim that his influences are Junior Johnson, Jerry Lee Lewis, and the Devil is enough reason to read his book. The fact that his real influences here are Harry Crews, Stephen King, and William Faulkner is simply the booze in the punch bowl. His writing in “Scream” is clear and concise with few adornments. After establishing the Galaxie’s lineage in a passage resembling a gear head’s version of the Book of Matthew (I suspect it is more influenced by Johnny Cash’s “One Piece at a Time”) Beuchamp takes us to Vietnam in a Hemingway-esque bit of young-man-at-war writing followed up by the gut-punch of reality as the mother of a Vietnam War KIA makes her daily way around Winston-Salem in 1974 still unable to look anyone in the eyes and share a moment of simple truth or shared grief.

The passages dated the 1970’s and 80’s are the best in the book and flow with period detail that people who lived here through those times will remember in sharp relief. It is in details that Beauchamp finds his strength and best writing blending character and environment in a thoughtful and illuminating way.

“I think of him every time I go out to the clothesline and I catch a glimpse of the Galaxie out of the corner of my eye, when the bumper catches the sun. Fred had parked it out in the shed and for the most part I was able to ignore it. But people started stopping by every now and then and asking if it was for sale, which it is most certainly is not. We’ve slowly started stacking stuff on top of it- the cardboard tray I used to gather walnuts, stacks of the Journal and Sentinal tied up with string, wooden crates full of those glass pop bottles Fred used to collect- the point that I just about can’t see it anymore.”

This takes place in a Winston-Salem that was struggling through the 1970’s and changing faster than anyone could keep their heads around.

I have tasted the overflow of the carpetbagger’s “developments”, cancerous sprawlings that homogenize what came before until it can be found only in memories or caricatures. I have plowed- wait. What was that? Shit, hang on.”

Beuchamp’s prose is nothing, if not, playful and the writer focuses far more on the “sound” of the words than he does on grammatical niceties and rote language. If you are looking for a book of the month club for your garden party book club, “Scream” won’t work for you. If you remember cruising Stratford Road in the 1980’s you already have a safe path into this book. Most of the Galaxie’s owners are young people. One of the ironies about the life of an automobile is that after the new wears off they are typically owned by the young, until the car becomes a “classic” and then it once more returns to the world of adults.

the author
the author

This narrative stays with the kids through the 1980’s until the car is abandoned on the way to Emerald Isle in 1988 by a young, beautiful woman fleeing an unfulfilling marriage. The early 90’s see it become the stage for a young man’s first perilous journey into the world of women as two preacher’s daughters almost tear him apart. By 2042 the Galaxie is still running and is now in a sci-fi world that feels like a mash-up of Kurt Vonnegut, George miller, and John Hughes.

Ironically, with all of the truck-stop trappings and Harry Crews style crank-shaft fiction, what Beauchamp excels at is the capturing of an atmosphere and like john Hughes he understands the sometimes epic and operatic realities of being an American teenager. More than narrative he is skilled at capturing the way something feels, or felt. Wade Beauchamp’s achievement here is real. These stories are our stories here in Winston-Salem. The small bits of tile that make up the complete and shifting mosaic of who we are and are becoming.

“We stretch out on the warm hood and let the sun dry our bodies as we listen to the yellow jackets buzz all around the scuppernong vines. Veronica listens as I tell her my plans for the Galaxie: american Butterfly mags, Edlebrock high-rise intake, Doug Thorley headers. She has no idea what any of it means, but she listens just the same. We eat grapes and watch the sun go down and talk about how nice it’s going to be when we can say goodnight and I don’t have to drive her home. Those nights were like lightening bugs, lit up for a second and then vanished into the dark under the pecan trees, gone from that spot and flashing again just out of arm’s length.”


You can purchase “Scream if You Wanna go Faster” HERE.


ford galaxie 500
ford galaxie 500



Leave a Comment