Unbound Edition Press today announced that it will publish Diary of a Queer American Trucker by long-haul driver Cody Hubbard. The title is scheduled for release in fall 2023. It is Hubbard’s first book.
Diary of Queer American Trucker details, with painful precision, the heavy load the trucking industry puts on the backs of the people who ensure the on-demand economy and its overnight deliveries happen. Through his personal experiences – false dreams, poverty-level wages, family tragedy – Hubbard paints a disturbingly vivid picture of what makes a country fueled by ceaseless consumerism actually run.
“The trucking industry is vital to the smooth operation of every small business, grocery store, hospital, household, manufacturer, and restaurant in the nation,” said Hubbard. “Yet, the American truck driver is often used cruelly, trapped in a predatory system that lures in new drivers with promises of a better life, then yokes them under contracts that mimic indentured servitude, paying far less than minimum wage.” Hubbard’s stories – achingly personal yet consistently clear-eyed – reveal the financial, labor, and sexual abuses of the industry, focusing on the frequently hostile treatment of LGBTQ+ drivers.
“As a queer man, it didn’t really matter how hard I worked. I was still called a faggot on the job,” he said. “I was intentionally teamed with life-threatening homophobes, given the most dangerous equipment possible, and forced to do things for money I never imagined, just to survive.” While making endless runs filled with fresh produce or products from food giants, he subsisted on uncooked ramen noodles every two days, losing more than sixty pounds in his first year of driving. “People have no idea of the human toll behind the so-called modern economy. It is as profoundly brutal as it is unsafe,” he said.
Patrick Davis, publisher at Unbound Edition Press, said, “It is the human side of this story that captured me. Cody’s sister was murdered. His dispatcher refused to allow him to attend the funeral unless he first dropped off a load of supplies near his hometown. I was struck by how callous, how inhumane, some have become in the name of profit.”
Throughout, Hubbard emphasizes the ways in which people with little access to higher education are taken advantage of, and how their efforts to earn a higher quality of life can actually put them further behind. “Publishing the personal truths contained in this book feels like a moral obligation to us,” said Davis.
“Most in the industry are too scared to tell the truth, terrified of being blacklisted out of the trade. That’s not me,” said Hubbard. “I’m lucky that I managed to find love along the way, and am beyond thankful my husband and I drive on our own terms now. That is not the typical story of this industry, at all.” He added, “This country’s roads are paved with our blood and sweat. People should at least know the real human cost of getting what they want, when they want it.”
Davis said, “Nothing about this book is typical. Cody and I worked on an early draft of key chapters for more than a year. It all started with him posting an incredibly articulate and moving story on Facebook. I knew he was a writer who just happened to be driving a truck.”
Cody Hubbard is a 28-year-old long-haul trucker based in America’s heartland; writing has been his passion since high school. He met his husband Shayne Hartness at a truck stop, after an online courtship. Together, they found a sustaining love along the challenging passages of the open road.