Haulage work is a highly glamorised profession: the lure of the open road and the ‘cowboyish’ solitude of a weeks-long transcontinental journey - alone or with another trucker - make the idea of trucking an attractive prospect to many. As many drivers will attest, these are parts of the job that make it a truly rewarding career. |
These same drivers will also tell you that there’s a lot of dirt under the gleaming ideal of the profession, and veteran trucker Gary Mottram provides a warts-and-all look under the bonnet of the lorry driver’s world. In Truck This for a Living, Mottram explores the embarrassing, the seedy and the downright dirty aspects of making one’s living in haulage work.
Gary Mottram’s storied career has included van driving and chauffeuring, before gaining his Class 1 HGV licence. He wrote Truck This for a Living as a response to the highly sanitised portrayal of trucking that dominates the media. Without denying the exciting and rewarding parts of the job, Truck This is full of cringe-inducing, sometimes disgusting, but always entertaining stories of the worst parts of the job. Seasoned truckers will recognise plenty of classic haulage work scenarios, and newbies may like to prepare for the worst as well as the best. Even those with no plans to become a haulier but with an interest in the industry will find plenty to like in Mottram’s book.
The writer’s account covers the squalor of many a truck stop, as well as the aggression endured from other motorists and the constant attempts by law and traffic enforcement to write you up. The stress, discomfort and loneliness of the job all get a look-in, and while Mottram’s style can occasionally seem a little direct, the honesty of his stories and his willingness to hold nothing back make this a highly compelling and valuable book.
Truck This for a Living is most highly recommended to those currently living through the ups and downs of haulage work, as well as retired truckers - all of whom will be able to nod along with the rarely discussed truths littered throughout Mottram’s account. New hauliers may also want to keep a copy in the cab for a bit of solidarity when the going gets tough. Prospective drivers may well enjoy this book as well, but don’t let it put you off the industry: as well as these lows, the job has a wealth of dizzying highs, and Mottram’s very worst experiences are not representative of a typical day in a career of haulage work.
Whether it’s for yourself or for a friend or loved one, Truck This for a Living remains an excellent insight into the trucker lifestyle. Its two hundred pages make for a decent length read with plenty of variation. The only thing to remember is that it’s not recommended for those with a weak stomach: Mottram pulls no punches in his descriptions of the indignities of life on the open road, although his tell-all style is undoubtedly part of Truck This’ unique charm.
Norman Dulwich is a Correspondent for Haulage Exchange, the leading online trade network for the road transport industry. Connecting logistics professionals across the UK and Europe through their website, Haulage Exchange provides services for matching haulage work with available drivers. Over 4,000 transport exchange businesses are networked together through their website, trading jobs and capacity in a safe 'wholesale' environment.
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