Excerpt from The Privilege of Youth by Dave Pelzer, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reviews |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

The Privilege of Youth

A Teenager's Story of Longing for Acceptance and Friendship

by Dave Pelzer

The Privilege of Youth
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    Jan 2004, 288 pages
    Jan 2005, 240 pages

  • Rate this book

Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt

"Privilege of youth, Dan. Privilege of youth," I grinned.

"And now you're the one helping kids," Dan said with a smile.

"Duty, honor, and country," I joked. "Truth, justice, and the American way!"

Strolling around the car, the smile I had known within Dan's eyes for years still shined through. The man who had engineered and rebuilt so many cars by hand, rubbed the sides of the Lotus as if it were a piece of art. As Dan slid into the tiny driver's seat and turned over the engine, he seemed like a teenager. While he tapped the accelerator, I sensed how much Dan wanted to take the car out for a quick spin. Fantasizing, I imagined Dan behind the steering wheel with me beside him, tearing down the road at hypersonic speed without a care in the world.

Dan gave me another nod. "Take it...." I mouthed to him. "Go ahead, take it for a spin." For a second, Dan's left hand gripped the steering wheel and the other on the stick shift. An eternity passed within a few beats of time. But I knew I was making Dan late for his doctor's appointment. With Beth standing beside Dan as he crawled out, I knew it was time to leave.

We stood next to each other, slightly nodding our heads before embracing. I always hated saying good-bye to him. "I know I say this all the time, but I love you. I love you, Dad ... Dan..." I slipped.

"You're a good son, David." Dan hugged back.

Sliding into the car, and while adjusting my sunglasses, I proclaimed, "Next time, we take her out for a spin."

Dan nodded in approval. Then, playing the never ending role as the concerned father, he inquired, "Ever get any tickets?"

Taking in the scene, I let out a laugh. I was seventeen again, wide-eyed, and spilling over with adventure. Raising my eyebrows, I confessed, "Not me, Sir. I'm a good boy!"

Minutes later at the end of the block, I eased the black, needle-nose Lotus beside Dan and Beth's car before we both drove off in opposite directions. I had thought of making a grand departure of racing through the gears, but reminded myself I was a grown adult, in my mid-thirties, and therefore too old, and far too mature, for such a childlike spurt of recklessness. So, I waved good-bye and casually headed northbound on Bay Road. When their car disappeared behind my rearview mirror, a sudden impulse took over. I slammed the car to a stop and, as I had years before on the same street, my mind ran through a simple but thorough checklist: (1) Check for police, (2) Ensure there are no children or any other pedestrians in the street, (3) Make certain there is adequate clearance in front of the driver at all times, and (4) Reverify checklist and think about what you're about to get yourself into. Two-point-four seconds later, I took a deep breath, leaned back into the seat, floored the accelerator, popped the clutch, and sped through the gears.

With a streak of burnt rubber and grayish-black smoke in my wake, I quietly announced, "Adios, Dan. See ya next time."

* * *

And now, in the middle of the night, thousands of miles away, in the midst of a freezing room, I sat on the edge of the bed. I didn't cry. And for a moment my trembling hand seemed to subside. With my fingers on my forehead and with my eyes closed, all I could do was listen to the howling wind and realize how much Dan Brazell and that small neighborhood changed the course of my life.

Reprinted from The Privilege of Youth by Dave Pelzer by arrangement with Dutton, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc. Copyright © Dave Pelzer, 2004. All rights reserved. This excerpt, or any parts thereof, may not be reproduced without permission.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Support BookBrowse

Become a Member
and discover your next great read!

Join Today!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: Crossing the Horizon
    Crossing the Horizon
    by Laurie Notaro
    In Crossing the Horizon, Laurie Notaro takes us back to a time when flying was a rare and risky ...
  • Book Jacket
    Auntie Poldi and the Sicilian Lions
    by Mario Giordano
    Munich matron and self-described worldly sophisticate, Isolde Oberreiter, has decided to retire to a...
  • Book Jacket: Of Arms and Artists
    Of Arms and Artists
    by Paul Staiti
    In the late eighteenth-century, the United States of America was still an emerging country, ...
Book Discussions
Book Jacket
The Bone Tree
by Greg Iles

An epic trilogy of blood and race, family and justice.

About the book
Join the discussion!

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    The Comet Seekers
    by Helen Sedgwick

    A magical, intoxicating debut novel, both intimate and epic.

    Read Member Reviews

Win this book!
Win The World of Poldark

Win the book & DVD

Enter to win The World of Poldark and the full first series on DVD.


Word Play

Solve this clue:

One S D N M A S

and be entered to win..

Books that     

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.


Free Weekly Newsletter

Keep up with what's happening in the world of books:
Reviews, previews, interviews and more!

Spam Free: Your email is never shared with anyone; opt out any time.