Fernandez Balances Teaching, Writing Book On Role of Automobile in American Society

English teacher Anne Fernandez, pictured above with her book Carjacked, co-wrote the book, an anthropological look at American culture with her sister Catherine Lutz. |Meghan Prior 11

English teacher Anne Fernandez, pictured above with her book “Carjacked”, co-wrote the book, an “anthropological look at American culture” with her sister Catherine Lutz. |Meghan Prior ’11

Kelsey Landauer
Staff Writer

Students always wonder what their teachers do in their free time. From what students know all they do is stand in the front of the classroom talking, or correct work. However, English teacher Anne Fernandez has certainly put her free time to something other than grading papers. Fernandez has fulfilled her highly anticipated goal of the publication of her book “Carjacked” which hit the shelves on Tuesday, January 5, 2010.

            Along with co-author and sister Catherine Lutz, Fernandez was able to complete the book after five long years of extensive research and writing. The book takes on an “anthropological look at American culture,” as Fernandez put it. More specifically, the book examines how American society looks at, and lives with automobiles.

            The topic was developed during Thanksgiving dinner in 2005 as the result of a family discussion. “This topic relates to our own lives because we lost a cousin and a good friend in a car crash, which really got us thinking about the negative aspects of cars,” said Fernandez. Fed up with cars and the loss of two loved ones, the sisters decided to take on the industry through informative literature.

            Fernandez and Lutz propose the idea in their book that car advertisements have caused society to overlook the problems with cars such as pollution and wasting natural resources. Fernandez believes car commercials that show a single car driving on an endless road in a beautiful wilderness are the perfect example of this, at they emphasize the idea that if one buys this automobile, one will stand out. Besides the financial and ecological impact, Fernandez pointed out the fact that an average person spends eighteen and a half hours per week in their car.

            With a hectic teaching schedule during the week, Fernandez has found herself introducing the ideas from Carjacked in to her own classes. She finds that the juniors in her English 3 class have taken the most interest in her book, because the research that is required for the junior research paper is similar to that in her own book. Fernandez feels that researching for her own book has helped her to provide better guidance to her students about gathering information for their papers. “It’s basically a giant research paper,” she said. When considering how much she enjoyed the researching process for her own book, she now desires to give her students a similar experience. She and her sister were able to travel to Washington where they were able to do some “very hands on research,” as Fernandez put it.

            Although Fernandez left the business world to become a teacher, she admits that she has long aspired to be a published author. However the effort that it takes to publicize the book has been rather strenuous. Fernandez and Lutz have been interviewed by the CT post, Westport News, and a public radio station. They’ve even branched out to Facebook with a “Carjacked” fan page. More information on the book is available on www.carjacked.org, which includes author biographies, upcoming events and more. Since both authors are balancing jobs on top of the publication of the book, only a certain amount of time can be lent to getting the word out about the book. “Working in a school is definitely a plus,” said Fernandez.

            This unique and argumentative book can be purchased on Amazon.com. The cover depicts the silhouette of a man slouched beneath the weight of a car, which captures the topic of the book perfectly. This image represents the work of Staples’ very own published author.

English teacher Anne Fernandez, pictured above with her book "Carjacked", co-wrote the book, an "anthropological look at American culture" with her sister Catherine Lutz. |Meghan Prior '11