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Cover image for Driving sideways : a novel
Format:
Title:
Driving sideways : a novel
ISBN:
9780345501103
Publication Information:
New York : Ballantine Books, ©2008.
Physical Description:
342 pages : illustrations ; 21 cm
General Note:
"A Ballantine Books Trade Paperback Original."
Summary:
Leigh Fielding wants a life. Seriously. Having spent the past five years on dialysis, she has one simple wish: to make it to her thirtieth birthday. Now, thanks to the generosity of the late Larry Resnick and his transplanted kidney, it looks like her wish may come true. With her newfound vitality (and Larry's kidney) in tow, Leigh hits the road for an excursion that will carry her from Wisconsin to California, with a few stops in between: Mount Rushmore, the Badlands, the Rockies, Las Vegas--and a memorable visit to thank Larry's family for the second chance. Yet Leigh's itinerary takes a sudden detour when she picks up a seventeen-year-old hitchhiker, Denise, a runaway with a bunch of stories and a couple of secrets. Add a long-lost mother, a loaded gun, an RV full of swingers, and Hall and Oates's Greatest Hits to the mix, and Driving Sideways becomes a hilarious and original journey of friendship, hope, and discovery.
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Summary

Summary

Leigh Fielding wants a life. Seriously. Having spent the past five years on dialysis, she has one simple wish: to make it to her thirtieth birthday. Now, thanks to the generosity of the late Larry Resnick and his transplanted kidney, it looks like her wish may come true.

With her newfound vitality (and Larry's kidney) in tow, Leigh hits the road for an excursion that will carry her from Wisconsin to California, with a few stops in between: Mount Rushmore, the Badlands, the Rockies, Las Vegas-and a memorable visit to thank Larry's family for the second chance.

Yet Leigh's itinerary takes a sudden detour when she picks up a seventeen-year-old hitchhiker, Denise, a runaway with a bunch of stories and a couple of secrets. Add a long-lost mother, a loaded gun, an RV full of swingers, and Hall and Oates's Greatest Hits to the mix, and Driving Sideways becomes a hilarious and original journey of friendship, hope, and discovery.


Praise for Driving Sideways:

"Driving Sideways is a gorgeous novel . . . hugely entertaining and very touching. Jess Riley's voice is irreverent and wonderful, and her writing is genius."
-Marian Keyes, author of Anybody Out There?

"A hopeful and hilarious debut ... Jess Riley may well be my new favorite author." -Jen Lancaster, author of Bitter is the New Black

"Brilliant . . . Jess Riley proves herself a huge new talent."
-Kristy Kiernan, author of Catching Genius


Author Notes

Jess Riley is a grant writer who lives in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, with her husband and their dog. Her book, Driving Sideways, was a finalist in the 2005 James Jones First Novel Fellowship.


Reviews 2

Publisher's Weekly Review

This seemingly endless road trip novel has the potential to become a thrill ride, but it makes too many wrong turns and never gets above low gear. After receiving a kidney transplant, 28-year-old Leigh Fielding notices some strange developments: sudden interests in, for instance, graphic novels, kayaking and ethnic food. Convinced she's channeling the spirit of her donor, Larry Resnick, Leigh decides to go on an "Unfinished Business Tour," visiting her best friend, an ex-boyfriend and her mother, and tracking down Larry's family. The notion of Leigh inheriting Larry's traits and tastes is explored amusingly and a few surprises pop up (a supposedly stranded teenage girl among them), but Riley puts too much stock in Leigh's voice, which, while sometimes funny, is too self-involved to leave much room for the reader. This particular trip is too long and exhausting for its own good. (May) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved


Booklist Review

Leigh Fielding was diagnosed with kidney disease and recently received a transplant. Since then, she's been trying all kinds of new things and comes to believe that she's channeling the donor, Larry. She decides to leave her central Wisconsin home for a road trip to meet Larry's family and see if he's anything like the new personality she has acquired. Things go awry at the Minnesota border when a teenage girl named Denise steals Leigh's purse and uses it to blackmail Leigh into giving her a ride to L.A. On the way they visit classic tourist traps and try to stay out of trouble, especially since Denise claims that it's her crazy ex in the black sedan that seems to be following them. Leigh's road trip continues, embracing both highs and lows, alternately hilarious, humiliating, and heartbreaking, often within the same sentence. Smart and funny without being forced, sentimental without being maudlin, Riley's funny, picaresque vision of America will make readers wish they could go along with Leigh on her next trip.--Hatton, Hilary Copyright 2008 Booklist