A 13 years old girl, a nasty uncle and a case of sexual abuse and molestation, those are elements easy to stereotype thecharacters of any story. Perhaps this is the main theme in How I Learned to Drive the writer, Paula Vogel, don’t judge. The production lets the public analyze therelationship between Li’l Bit and uncle Perk as a much more complex situation.
The reasons that took both of them on the path of a sick relationship are notshallow. As dark and abusive as could be, they need each other to go through life. Feeling as an outsider in her own family, Li’l Bit sees in her uncle theonly person that really care about her and accept her the way she is. Looking for some freedom, the driving lessons is used as a metaphor to symbolize whatLi’l Bit is looking for.
The need of freedom gets even more clear when she turns 18 years old. This is the time when uncle Perk finally sees the chance ofhaving sex and marry her. Even though Li’l Bit has feelings for him it is time to end up their relationship. Now she is a legal adult. Wich means that gets herfreedom and independency. The girl now can take care of her own life and doesn’t need her uncle to give her “drive lessons”.
As a young adult, it seems Li’lBit went through the teenage years and the relationship and became much more mature. We can not say the same about uncle Perk. In so many years he keepsfinding in her niece the only way to take him away from his complicated life. But at the end, we see him as troubled and destroying his life with alcoholism.