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Driving Lessons: A Father, A Son, and the Healing Power of Golf Hardcover – May 10, 2011


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Editorial Reviews

Review

“For generations, fathers and sons have trudged emerald fairways together in a lacerating enterprise called golf. Steve Friedman does a marvelous job writing about one such improbable outing, in which nine holes of spirited hacking bridged an aching gap between him and his dad. Driving Lessons is a good read about a good walk, unspoiled.”  --Carl Hiaasen, author of The Downhill Lie: A Hacker’s Return to a Ruinous Sport
 
"Steve Friedman may not be much of a golfer, but he's one heck of a writer. Rarely have the joys and sorrows of the father-son-putter dynamic been so keenly observed." --Mark Adams, author of Mr. America

About the Author

STEVE FRIEDMAN's stories have been published in The New York Times, The Washington Post, Esquire, GQ, The Best of Outside, The Bastard on the Couch, Modern Love, The Best American Travel Writing and, six times, The Best American Sports Writing. He is the author of The Gentleman's Guide to Life and co-author of The New York Times Best Seller, Loose Balls. A St. Louis native and graduate of Stanford University, Friedman lives in New York City, where he is Writer at Large for the Rodale Sports Group. He also teaches at Mediabistro.com.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 128 pages
  • Publisher: Rodale Books (May 10, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1605291250
  • ISBN-13: 978-1605291253
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.6 x 7.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,796,743 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Steve Friedman is the author of five books, including Driving Lessons, Lost on Treasure Island and The Agony of Victory and the co-author of two books. Eat & Run (with Scott Jurek), will be released June 5, 2012. Friedman has written for Esquire, GQ, Outside, The New York Times, Backpacker, Runner's World and other titles and his stories have been widely anthologized. He grew up in St. Louis, Missouri, and graduated from Stanford University. He lives in New York City. Visit Stevefriedman.net.

Customer Reviews

3.5 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Kevin L. Nenstiel TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on March 25, 2011
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Facing fifty and feeling adrift, Steve Friedman needed to reconnect with his father, which he did through the one skill his dad taught but he never learned: golf. Several days of lessons under his father's gentle but judgmental eye took Friedman down a highly conflicted Memory Lane. Years of subtle conflict arose because father and son spoke different languages. But, he realizes, perhaps they were more alike than he'd supposed.

On one hand, I like Friedman's tone of recollection. I can see myself and my father in a similar light (though, with my dad, we'd be doing home repair, not golfing). Friedman's eye for detail crystalizes his experience so directly that anyone who has ever struggled to see eye to eye with a father can share his depth of feeling. This isn't just Friedman's story; it's yours and mine, too.

On the other hand, after you remove the front matter, back matter, and nearly-blank placeholder pages, this book runs only 71 pages. That's 71 wide-spaced five-by-seven pages, with generous white space. Friedman hasn't written a book, he's written a long magazine article. On Golf Digest's large, narrowly spaced pages, this might run twenty-five pages. And for that he charges $15 MSRP? Holy moley, Steve, I work for a living.

I'm glad Friedman reconnected with his father and learned some important lessons. He tells his story well. But for this price, I expect him to do more than the minimum. He'd probably enjoy a larger audience in a golf magazine, or a magazine for grown children and their families, especially at these prices. Let me share one lesson from my own dad: "There's a time and place for everything."
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
If you're looking at "Driving Lessons", stop and read James Dodson's "Final Rounds" first. Dodson, who wrote an elegant introduction to "Driving Lessons", is a much better writer - or at least one better suited to writing a book. Friedman's "Driving Lessons" is more like a series of essays compiled by a newspaper columnist - except that many of the "chapters" aren't really long enough to be a newspaper column.

That said, the book does have some touching poignancy to it. Friedman seems to be making an effort to learn from and about his father, though his premise feels half-hearted. His father keeps making comments that start "If you're serious...", and the conveyed feeling is that Friedman really is NOT serious about learning golf - he just wants to learn what it is about golf that makes his father tick. It is as if a friend of Friedman's told him about "Final Rounds", and said "you should go get your Dad to teach you golf, so you can really understand the old man".

The joy of golf, within a Father & Son relationship, isn't the score, the clubs, the swing, or anything like that - it's about the time spent together on a hobby that both enjoy. Friedman wants a shortcut to the relationship, and wrongly thinks golf is it. But he does get to see a bit of the light along the way.

It's worth reading. It's short, but with no extraneous filler, so what is there is all good stuff. Still, an hour is about all it takes to read. The book is good, but I recommend either James Dodson's "Final Rounds" or either of Tim Russert's two books "Big Russ and Me" or "Wisdom of Our Fathers" above "Driving Lessons".
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I ordered this book because I play golf with my father whenever I visit him. Even though I am a terrible player, playing golf is something that my father enjoys and it is a great way to bond.

I think the book successfully conveys the fun of golf while at the same time giving us a personal story. This book delivers a nice story of a son trying to learn golf to bond with his father. At the same time, it gives a nice little biography of his father. I appreciate the honesty of the author, showing his frustrations.

The book is very short though. It can be easily read in one hour. I think one should be aware of that when it comes to the price. The book also includes a nice introduction by James Dodson, I thought it was very nicely written.

Overall, a good book but a little too short.
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