Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Book review: Driving sideways

I just finished Driving Sideways by Jess Riley and I highly recommend it for anyone looking for an entertaining and hilarious diversion. I rarely laugh out loud when reading, and this book had me in stitches from start to finish.

The synopsis: 28 year-old Leigh embarks on a road trip after a kidney transplant gives her a new lease on life. She picks up a 17 year old hitch hiker along the way, and share many misadventures as they make their way from Wisconsin to California.

I am a quote junkie, and find it the best way to remember the books I read so here are a few of my favorite exerts from Driving Sideways:

Thoughts on her new kidney:
"After my surgery, I began having strange cravings for food I'd never tasted before. Gazpacho. Falafel with cold cucumber salad. Candied ginger. Once I found myself standing in the Copps checkout line at two a.m. dropping five bags of frozen edamame on the conveyer belt. Five bags! I'm sure the checker thought I was completely stoned. In addition to my new food cravings, I also completely lost interest in the music that had propelled me through three years of college. Dido? Barftastic! Third Eye Blind? Shittacular! At first I chalked it up to a simple change in tastes. This happened to everyone didn't it? I mean, we all used to have mall hair and jelly pumps, but then we developed common sense, right? One night, I found myself in line at the Exclusive Company holding CDs by Elbow, Nick Drake and Wilco. I'd never heard of these people - or heard any of their songs - but I knew I'd love them. And I did. A new soundtrack for the new me. "
(I think shittacular is my new favorite word. I apologize in advance if I offend, but I love it so!)

Hitch hiker apprehensions :
"Denise shrugs and pulls out a battered copy of The Catcher in the Rye. "Mind if I read?" she asks. I'm too surprised to do anything but nod. I'd expected her to lug out a Danielle Steel novel or maybe Thievery digest. I'm a little unnerved by her choice in reading material. Doesn't a red flag pop up in an FBI computer somewhere whenever someone checks Catcher out of a library? Because didn't Mark David Chapman and Lee Harvey Oswald enjoy the novel? I tell myself I won't worry until Denise starts referring to herself with three names."

Wistfully watching her friends drinking wine:
"I haven't tasted a drop of alcohol in nearly seven years. And I'd be a dirty, stinking liar if I said I didn't miss it - the fuzzy warmth of the first drink, the jubilation and easy conversation of the second, the coy, nonsensical flirtation of the third. (I'll stop there, before the inappropriate and obnoxious comments of the fourth, nudity of the fifth and vomiting of the sixth)."

Describing her best friend:
"Her name was Jillian Wallace, and she had not only a pool and a spiral perm, but six rowdy brothers and sisters, one of whom owned a Ford Mustang and a bootleg Nirvana tape before we even knew who Kurt Cobain was. Another had an expensive, aromatic suade jacket and was on the high school dance squad. They threw crowded, destructive parties when Jillian's parents were out of town, with cassette-tape streamers on the ceiling fans and mattresses thrown from upstairs windows. Just like on TV! They were like Gods to me."
(Ah, the '90s!)

"But come on, your best friend - who wept at your grandmother's funeral, finishes your sentences, and warns you when you've got spinach stuck between your teeth: your confessor, therapist, partner in crime, and sounding board all rolled into one amazing person - announces she's moving four states away as you're blindsided by a medical tsunami and you don't feel even a smidgen of loss, self-pity, or envy?"
(I miss my best friend.)


  1. Just added this to my reading list! It looks hysterical.


  2. Based on the quotes, it sounds like a hilarious book.

    I just finished reading The New York Regional Mormon Singles Halloween Dance by Elna Baker. It's a long and strange title but another hilarious book about a twenty-something Mormon girl who is trying to find love in New York City.

    I will be adding Driving Sideways to my reading list :)


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