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Driving Lessons: A Novel (P.S.) Paperback – April 8, 2014
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Sarah Simon and her husband, Josh, do something they never thought they would. They trade their hip New York City neighborhood for practically rural Virginia. While Josh settles in with his fellow professors, Sarah feels pressure to either define her career path or have a baby. Why not? She has nothing else to do, especially since she is terrified of driving. But a serendipitous run-in with a car (which turns out to belong to Ray, a driving instructor) has her getting out of the house with a combination of reluctance and gratitude. When she gets bad news from her best friend, Mona, Sarah runs back to New York to be by her side, as much out of desperation as out of friendship. But the more time she spends in New York, the more she realizes she is done with the city, especially when Mona makes her drive in Manhattan. Sarah is a relatable mess, Josh is a dream husband, and the supporting characters are mostly a hoot. Although the novel is a bit heavy on talk-out-our-feelings dialogue, it is a charming story. --Susan Maguire
“At turns funny and poignant, Driving Lessons is a refreshingly honest and insightful story of a woman whose questions about the direction of her life follow her from the big city to small country roads.” (Meg Donohue, author of All The Summer Girls)
A wonderful, witty, and heartfelt journey through some of life’s biggest challenges: marriage, moving, making babies and more (Jessica Anya Blau, author of The Wonder Bread Summer)
“A charming and warm story about new adventures and old friends and how this likable heroine learns to embrace them both.” (Shelly Noble, NYT bestselling author of Beach Colors)
“Insightful and emotionally astute…Fishman demonstrates a rare gift for illuminating the interior lives of women with honesty, generosity and a whole lot of heart.” (Jillian Medoff, bestselling author of Hunger Point)
“Fishman effectively balances humor and tension, crafting an involving portrayal of three women coping with the idea and obstacles of motherhood.” (Publishers Weekly)
“Fishman’s sweetly told tale will resonate with readers who desire change in their lives, but it will also touch the hearts of others… believable and authentic.” (RT Book Reviews)
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Top Customer Reviews
As the synopsis points out, Driving Lessons is a narrative about 3 woman (plus some female side characters), "navigating" their way through life, and it's small surprises. I won't delve too much into the plot, because anything I say might very well give away the entire thing: this book could have been written in 150 pages or less, seriously. The story is mainly centered around Sarah, who, along with her husband Josh, uproots her life and moves from New York, to a small town in Virginia. She then receives some bad news regarding her best friend Mona, hightails it back to New York to take care of her, and ends up spending some quality time with her sister-in-law, Kate, as well. In the end, she receives some great news.
That's it. That's all. I've pretty much described the entire book to you. There were no LIFE-ALTERING secrets revealed. No one was betrayed, no one was abandoned, defeated, depressed or even remotely in danger *SIGH*. When I started a new chapter, or read a line that (I thought!) held some guarded truth, I kept thinking "okay..okay this is it guys!! NOW the author is going to drop some bombs! Some real HEART-HITTING twists! I just KNOW IT!". And then..........nothing. Nothing until the very end, and then nothing there either. I was absolutely losing my MIND over the sheer nothingness that was happening.
The characters in Driving Lessons were completely one-dimensional, and could have all been the same person to me. Their voices were so alike, my eyes glazed over almost all of the dialogue. Sarah's husband, Josh, could have been the one getting a hysterectomy for all I know, he was THAT interchangeable with her best friend, Mona. He was unrealistically written, which infuriated me to no end. Seriously, what man is THAT perfect? Give me a break. I want to escape reality when I read, but I'm not in favour of becoming delusional. I will refrain from sharing my thoughts about the main female lead, Sarah. Let's just say that when I got to a scene where she completely refused to become someone's friend because they were "too pretty", I was literally ready to close the book for good.
Overall, Driving Lessons followed a linear path, a safe and, maybe for some, a comfortable pace. It's a book you might pick up if you've just overcome an emotionally trying time, and you just want something that's free of any negativity, or intense drama. There IS the issue of cancer in this book, so if that's a touchy subject for you, maybe steer clear. However, it was written about in a way that barely grazed the surface of the emotions, and procedures, involved.
I love a book about female characters who are lovably flawed, in ways with which I can fully relate. As a woman the same age as Sarah, I found myself totally understanding her fears about her identity, both as a career woman, and as a woman contemplating motherhood. I love that the three women in the book basically start out on somewhat similar paths, and find their journeys vastly different, yet interwoven and compatible. It helped me see the irony in everyday situations.
I really loved Sarah as a character. I thought she was well developed, and very likable, even in her slightly less likable moments. She possesses a sweetness of spirit that I found refreshing. Typically, sweet characters appear naive, but Sarah is not. She is simply good, yet still flawed. I really adored her compassion to her friend dealing with a crisis; the scenes between Sarah and Mona, the friend, are very tender in their own mildly acerbic way.
This is a good book about female identity, relationships, independence, and interconnectedness. I really loved it, and would recommend it to readers fond of books focusing on female characters which out being overt chick lit. This should be on a lot of summer reading lists.
I received a review copy courtesy of TLC Book Tours in exchange for my honest review.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
marriage, adjusting to a new city, missing friends, and learning to
drive. What could be better.