Riding in Cars with Girls: Kate Lake Gives Us a Memoir Any Lesbian Can Understand One Car at a Time. (Summer Reading)

By DuLong, Jessica | The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine), June 10, 2003 | Go to article overview

Riding in Cars with Girls: Kate Lake Gives Us a Memoir Any Lesbian Can Understand One Car at a Time. (Summer Reading)


DuLong, Jessica, The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine)


This is not your grandfather's memoir. Kate Lake's snappy little book--a collection of paintings, each accompanied by a short vignette--tells her life story as a series of snapshots, each episode embodied in a different car.

The book, Zero to Fifty: A Lifetime in the Driver's Seat, begins in her parents' 1947 Plymouth sedan with a sisterly double dare to release the emergency brake to see what happens. Subsequent pages trace Lake's life and loves through a string of vehicular landmarks. There's the Chevy Nomad where she lost her virginity; the Dodge Dart her brother was tinkering with the summer he died; the cab-over semitruck she drove to earn extra cash; the red Subaru Outback that Mary, her lover of 10 years, still drives.

The book started as a painting project that was "just for me," says the 49-year-old graphic designer. "I used to paint portraits for my friends, but they would say things like, 'Why do I look so butch?' or 'I don't have that many lines.'" She started painting cars because they "don't talk back," then scripted a short story to accompany each one. The series was a natural fit for a woman who, if not a card-carrying gearhead, certainly qualifies as an aficionado. …

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