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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars From S. Krishna's Books
Twenty-eight-year-old Leigh Fielding has a new chance at life thanks to Larry Resnick, a man she's never met - or more precisely, thanks to Larry's kidney. After five years on dialysis, Leigh is given the gift of a new kidney and a renewed sense of optimism; after all, for a long time she thought she wouldn't see her thirtieth birthday. Inspired by Larry and his gift,...
Published on September 5, 2008 by skrishna

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2 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Wisconsin time is not two hours behind California time
...just had to get that off my chest. Where was the editor on that one?

That annoyance aside, this was a cute story, although not a great one. It was a wonderful set up: formerly sick young woman heads out on a road trip to make up for lost time spent on dialysis, and to mend some fences along the way. On the road she meets and picks up a motley crew of...
Published on February 3, 2009 by Sunny Dae


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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars From S. Krishna's Books, September 5, 2008
By 
skrishna (http://www.skrishnasbooks.com) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: Driving Sideways: A Novel (Paperback)
Twenty-eight-year-old Leigh Fielding has a new chance at life thanks to Larry Resnick, a man she's never met - or more precisely, thanks to Larry's kidney. After five years on dialysis, Leigh is given the gift of a new kidney and a renewed sense of optimism; after all, for a long time she thought she wouldn't see her thirtieth birthday. Inspired by Larry and his gift, Leigh does what anyone who has been hooked up to a machine three days a week would want to do - she gets out of her hometown of Fond du Lac, Wisconsin.

A road trip seems like the perfect way to start her new life. Planning out stops along the way (visiting friends Meg and Jillian, dropping in unannounced on Larry's grandmother to thank her for his gift and find out more about him), her ultimate destination is California. There her mother disappeared to when she left Leigh, her brother, James, and their father, who killed himself about a year later. However, along the way, something unexpected happens - Leigh picks up a hitchhiker. Seventeen-year-old Denise is a runaway from her foster home, hiding from a bad boyfriend. She asks Leigh to take her along to California and Leigh, feeling daring with her new lease on life, agrees to the companionship, though she doesn't entirely trust Denise. Together they embark on a hilarious and unforgettable journey across the country and find parts of themselves scattered along the way.

Driving Sideways is charming, insightful, and wonderfully funny. It is a story of self-discovery and loss, of hope and despair. The characters are incredibly well-written, and it is easy to sympathize with their stories. Though Leigh has had renal failure, she doesn't dwell in this place of darkness. Instead, she is irreverent and whimsical, only wanting the chance to live. After all, the doctors told her that the new kidney isn't a cure - it is simply a treatment that may fail in time. Leigh is careful with her new kidney, not taking any chances that might put Larry in harm's way. Sometimes that is the hardest part of reading a novel like this, watching the protagonist head down a spiral that is certain to lead to their own destruction (I can have just one drink, I'll be okay). The reader sees it, the other characters in the book see it, yet it happens anyways - frustrating and unpleasant to read. The fact that Leigh actually takes her sickness seriously and, while tempted, does not stray from her strict diet and healthy lifestyle is refreshing and a welcome change in novels in general.

The most appealing aspect of Driving Sideways would have to be Jess Riley's sense of humor. The novel is witty and fun with more than a few laugh-out-loud parts. Though it is about a very long roadtrip, the narrative itself doesn't drag butt goes quickly; Riley keeps readers interested (and amused) through the twists and turns of the roads that Leigh finds herself upon. The novel has a lot of heart and emotion, but it is never cheesy or sappy, demonstrative of Riley's talent as a writer. She manages to touch her readers and evoke the emotions she wants them to feel without telling them to do so. It is a mark of her ability to write sympathetic and believable characters that the reader really does care about.

Driving Sideways is a winning debut novel and is a wonderful showcase of Jess Riley's talent as an author. Whether her next book is a sequel to her first or an entirely new story, I will be first in line to see what else she can do with her impressive capacity as a writer.

Originally published at Curled Up With a Good Book
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Drive Yourself to the Bookstore To Buy This Book!, August 11, 2008
This review is from: Driving Sideways: A Novel (Paperback)
I flat out loved this book! First, Jess Riley's writing is so witty and clever I was chuckling to myself throughout Driving Sideways. Second, I fell in love with the character of Leigh and her friends, especially Denise. I think I loved Leigh because she is like me in a lot of ways. She is full of useless pop culture information. She is also scared of branching out on her own and this trip she goes on is a big step for her and in turn becomes a life changing experience. The ending is like life in that it is not wrapped up in a perfect bow but is truly fitting. Driving Sideways is full of adventure, humor, hope and most of all love. It will make you want to grab your best friend and go for an adventure and experience this wonderful life that we have.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Could not put it down!, August 13, 2008
This review is from: Driving Sideways: A Novel (Paperback)
I bought this book because I also I have PKD and wanted to know more about the disease from someone experiencing it in a sence. I could not put it down it was funny in all the right spots and sooo spot on. I picked this book up to read a couple chapters before bed, It's 6:41am I just finished it, guess I can head to bed now!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hilarious, insightful, perfect, August 11, 2008
This review is from: Driving Sideways: A Novel (Paperback)
This book will make you roll on the floor laughing. It will make you cry. It will inspire you to find the better person inside yourself. The writing is free-flowing; never distracting. The author puts you directly in the driver's seat with Leigh. What a fresh new talent that you will surely hear more from.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very Good, July 31, 2008
By 
M. Frosceno (Fort Lauderdale ,FL) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Driving Sideways: A Novel (Paperback)
This is a very good book. My husband has PKD and is currently on two transplant lists. The author really did her homework about the disease. The story was very enlightening, funny and well written. I highly recommend this book.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A delightful book and a great find - I tried to read slowly to savor the time with Leigh., March 6, 2009
By 
M. C. Crammer (Lawrenceville, GA USA) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Driving Sideways: A Novel (Paperback)
This novel is in the "chick lit" category, but what a shame that few men will be willing to read it! The title, "Driving Sideways," comes from the movie "Sideways," and this involves a roadtrip of women (rather than the men's roadtrip in Sideways).

Twenty-something Leigh has recently received a kidney transplant after years of dialysis, and now that she's free of having dialysis three times a week, she decides to hit the road (over the strenuous objections of her brother). She wants to stop and see friends in Colorado and then go on to meet the family of the donor of her kidney (they're in Utah, she's in Wisconsin, finally ending up in California trying to find her mother, who abandoned the family when she was a small child. And then there's a former boyfriend Leigh stops to see...

At just about the first rest-stop, Leigh ends up with a hitchhiking runaway teenager named Denise. Denise is one of the more memorable characters in novels -- you could imagine an adjective based on her name and characteristics. She's both delightful and shady at the same time. You can never quite tell what she's really up to or how much you can believe her. In Colorado, Leigh's best friend Jillian is introduced -- a somewhat less novel character (she's into crystals), but still lively.

The escapades along the way -- many at places I've been, like the Corn Palace in Mitchell, SD, and Wall Drug -- make you want to hit the road yourself. The author captures the feel of road trips, including the increasing irritability as the drive progresses and everyone is starting to run out of things to talk about and is tired of sitting in a car.

I thought that the book was less compelling after Denise was dropped off in California --probably because Denise was such an entertaining character. However, Leigh's tale of living with kidney disease provides a novel twist to the road trip genre, as does her honesty about what it's like and good humor alternating with expressions of fear of dying before she's 30. The book is amusing even though it deals with such a serious topic. I can hardly wait for the next novel by this author, and hope she continues Leigh's story. Or Denise's!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What A Great Ride!, August 4, 2008
By 
L. Evans "Southern Girl Reads" (Ocala, Florida United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Driving Sideways: A Novel (Paperback)
Driving Sideways is the most entertaining book I've read all year. I loved it! If you love sarcastic humor, you'd enjoy this book too. There were times that I'd literally laugh out loud! Even though the story itself has a common theme - self discovery, Ms. Riley made it fresh and different. And while Leigh, the main character, deals with a serious illness (PKD), she was able to raise awareness about the disease without it becoming depressing. She incorporated it into a very well written story. All of the characters were interesting and likeable. I loved their senses of humor and the way they interacted with one another. While reading this book, I had such a clear image of who these people were that I was able to visualize it all in my mind It was like a movie. A really good movie. As I said before, this book made me laugh, but it also touched my heart.

The story is told by Leigh as if the reader is a new friend and she's talking about a very important time in her life. There was so much in this book that I wanted to read it slowly and not miss anything. If you're looking for a fun read with lots of entertaining dialogue, you can't go wrong with this book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars the road novel for this generation, November 23, 2009
This review is from: Driving Sideways: A Novel (Paperback)
Driving Sideways is Jess Riley's first, and sadly, only novel to date. It's the story of 28-year-old Leigh Fielding, who has just received a kidney transplant and a new outlook on life. After not expecting to live past her 30th birthday, Leigh decides to live boldly for once and take a road trip from Fond du Lac, Wisconsin to Los Angeles, where her mother, who left when she was five, lives. Along the way, she stops to see her college boyfriend, her best friend, and the family of the man who donated her kidney.

The description of the book does not begin to do it justice, and I'm not a fan of the cover. I read this book because I'd read so many great reviews. It's a road trip novel for my generation. I love Jack Kerouac's On the Road, and this book captures it's spirit but bears little other resemblance besides the a prominent road trip. Leigh is irreverent, funny, smart, grounded, and delightful. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book, and I adore it's ability to be both meaningful and amusing. It's a delightful blend of light-hearted fun and real-life worry. It's never too heavy, or too light, and Riley achieves balance with story and characters.

If you're under the age of 35 (perhaps even 40), then you'll love this book. If not, then you might miss some of the humor and pop culture references. I do worry many of the pop cultural references will become obsolete, antiquated or less funny in the coming years, so read it now!

I sincerely hope Jess Riley has another novel coming out because this one was a fantastic novel, and an even better first novel.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Driving Sideways, August 11, 2008
By 
This review is from: Driving Sideways: A Novel (Paperback)
Driving Sideways is a fun and entertaining novel with characters that are quirky and lovable. Jess Riley has a writing style that engages the reader from the first page and has a great sense of humor. You'll feel like you are in the car, experiencing the road trip and all of the adventures with Leigh Fielding and her friends. The book is fun, but has substance as well.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Funny Read, August 1, 2008
This review is from: Driving Sideways: A Novel (Paperback)
I bought this book soley because the author Jen Lancaster recommended it. It was a funny book and I am glad I took the chance of purchasing it. It does have it's slow moments but all in all a very good debut novel. Would recommend to anyone who needs a laugh or who needs to be reminded that life is worth living.
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Driving Sideways: A Novel
Driving Sideways: A Novel by Jess Riley (Paperback - May 20, 2008)
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