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Driving Lessons

by Zoe Fishman

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5012387,083 (3.18)1
Sometimes life's most fulfilling journeys begin without a map An executive at a New York cosmetics firm, Sarah has had her fill of the interminable hustle of the big city. When her husband, Josh, is offered a new job in suburban Virginia, it feels like the perfect chance to shift gears. While Josh quickly adapts to their new life, Sarah discovers that having time on her hands is a mixed blessing. Without her everyday urban struggles, who is she? And how can she explain to Josh, who assumes they are on the same page, her ambivalence about starting a family? It doesn't help that the idea of getting behind the wheel--an absolute necessity of her new life--makes it hard for Sarah to breathe. It's been almost twenty years since she's driven, and just the thought of merging is enough to make her teeth chatter with anxiety. When she signs up for lessons, she begins to feel a bit more like her old self again, but she's still unsure of where she wants to go. Then a crisis involving her best friend lands Sarah back in New York--a trip to the past filled with unexpected truths about herself, her dear friend, and her seemingly perfect sister-in-law . . . and an astonishing surprise that will help her see the way ahead.… (more)

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Showing 1-5 of 12 (next | show all)
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
(Heavy Sigh) I found this book to be ok. I wasn't voraciously turning the pages waiting to find out what would happen. I think it is a great beach read as you don't have to think. The story has some nice characters who I think women may relate to. The book has a message about friendship but a lot of books cover this theme so it is not unique. I did not get the ladybug references either. If you are looking for a quick, mindless read pick this up, if you are looking for substance and the need to keep finding out what happens, find another read. ( )
  bnbookgirl | May 27, 2014 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Longtime New Yorker Sarah is uncertain about life in the country, but it’s off to the country they go. Giving up a high-powered but ultimately soulless marketing job in the city, she and her husband ship out to rural Virginia to start fresh — and maybe start a family — away from the bright lights they’ve come to know so well.

And . . . well, that’s it, basically. Zoe Fishman’s Driving Lessons centers on sweet, bland Sarah and how she’s given up a ton for her husband and isn’t sure she wants to be a parent but, hey, she’s going to consider it, anyway. Out of practice on the road, the title comes from her attempts — some successful, some less so — to get back behind the wheel and steer herself into a new destiny. You know, that sort of thing.

What worked for me? Many of Sarah’s reservations about motherhood and her fierce friendship with Mona, an ailing bestie back in New York, felt very realistic. I appreciated Fishman’s honest take on the pressure many women face at the prospect of starting a family when they’re still trying to pull themselves together. I thought the “Whatever works for you is right for you!” message was cool, and I felt Sarah handled and reacted to changing family dynamics well.

What didn’t work so well? Um . . . everything else, I guess. As a narrator, Sarah was just as dull as dishwater. Without any discernible personality, wants or needs, I was left trying to color inside her lines myself. She was a blank slate, lacking vivacity and imagination. She was just boring. I never connected with her or really felt I got to know her at all. Worse, I didn’t feel there was anything to know. No secrets or hidden desires. Just . . . nothing.

And it frustrates me! Because this could have been fun! The push/pull of transitioning from New York to Farmwood had potential, but it just never panned out. Plus? I find the whole “New York is the center of the universe” mentality to be a bit tired. There were some overtures to incorporate cute “Southern” characters into dispatches from Virginia, and I may have enjoyed the story more had we felt more of the dynamic of city slicker in the country — but even that may have felt overdone.

And what was up with Josh, her cardboard cut-out of a husband? He’s a professor, he wants to be a dad, and . . . that about sums it up, I guess. They leave Brooklyn because he takes a job elsewhere and thinks Virginia will be a better place to raise their future gaggle of kiddos, I suppose, and that’s it. His conversations with his wife seemed stilted at best and scripted at worse — and if I never felt I got to know Sarah, well. He really needn’t have been there at all.

Was it an easy read? Yes. Did I ever consider abandoning it? No, actually. It was light women’s fiction . . . emphasis on light. So light it could have been carried off by a summer breeze, friends. I love women’s fiction and character-driven stories, but nothing about it was gripping. Like, at all. Competently written but ultimately forgettable, Driving Lessons never really gained traction for me. ( )
  writemeg | Apr 21, 2014 |
I could hardly put this book down and neglected the other books I'm reading or had planned to read. Some people are city people, but some aren't and don't know it until they leave and then return for a visit. That's what happened to Sarah when she went back to NYC to help her friend Mona. But it was a forced drive across the Brooklyn Bridge to help her get over her fear of driving. This book had heart and real characters. I plan to read more of this author in the future. ( )
  eliorajoy | Apr 19, 2014 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
I received this book through LibraryThing's Early Reviewers program.

The main plot of this book is about a New Yorker named Sarah who moves to rural Virginia after her husband finds a job teaching at a university. It deals with Sarah adjusting to a major life change using her taking driving lessons as a metaphor for taking control and changing the direction of her life. It's a quick read, but I didn't feel that it was very substantial. There's emotion and humor and it's an enjoyable story but it never left me feeling like I wanted to hear more about the characters or their lives. ( )
  bwightman | Apr 9, 2014 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
This is the first novel I've read by Zoe Fishman and was pleasantly surprised at this easy read chick-lit with a lot more than just driving lessons involved. I loved the chapter headings referencing driving and trying to get clues of what the chapter would be about based on the road signs or "driving lesson." While Sarah learns to drive, she learns a lot more about hereself and the direction of her life. This will be a great beach read and should be on everyone's summer reading list! ( )
  emkemi23 | Mar 29, 2014 |
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In memory of Barbara Morace
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Sarah, what the hell?
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Sometimes life's most fulfilling journeys begin without a map An executive at a New York cosmetics firm, Sarah has had her fill of the interminable hustle of the big city. When her husband, Josh, is offered a new job in suburban Virginia, it feels like the perfect chance to shift gears. While Josh quickly adapts to their new life, Sarah discovers that having time on her hands is a mixed blessing. Without her everyday urban struggles, who is she? And how can she explain to Josh, who assumes they are on the same page, her ambivalence about starting a family? It doesn't help that the idea of getting behind the wheel--an absolute necessity of her new life--makes it hard for Sarah to breathe. It's been almost twenty years since she's driven, and just the thought of merging is enough to make her teeth chatter with anxiety. When she signs up for lessons, she begins to feel a bit more like her old self again, but she's still unsure of where she wants to go. Then a crisis involving her best friend lands Sarah back in New York--a trip to the past filled with unexpected truths about herself, her dear friend, and her seemingly perfect sister-in-law . . . and an astonishing surprise that will help her see the way ahead.

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