Driving Sideways is the story of Leigh, a recent kidney transplant recipient who decides to take a road trip to find her donor’s (Larry Resnick’s) family to discover whether she is channeling Larry Resnick and also make some other Unfinished Business Stops along the way. Great concept, huh?
But this book is soooo much more than a great concept. This novel skillfully straddles that sad/funny territory that is really difficult to navigate. That not only requires enormous writing talent but also a great deal of psychological insight.
The day I started reading Driving Sideways, my son walked in on me weeping to this passage: “Kate is our mother, who developed the curious conviction when James and I were younger that she would one day become a great actress. The morning she left us for Hollywood she crouched next to me and whispered absently, “Never settle. Take big risks.” Then she stepped into her Ford Pinto and lurched away from the curb, her silver bumper glinting in the sunlight, the scent of Charlie cologne mingling with exhaust in the air. I was five years old. I sat on the curb waiting for her until Sesame Street came on, after which I returned to the curb to wait for her return. Twenty-three years later, I’m still waiting.”
And by the time my son dumped his backpack on the dining room table, I was reading: “Peter Fonda had a motorcycle filled with drugs and money. I’ve got a Saturn with a kayak on the roof.” And I was laughing out loud. (You’ll have to read the book to “get” that passage.)
And my son was like, “Are you okay. Mom?”
Okay? Yes I was okay. I was ecstatic that I got to read this book by this major new talent (mark my words) and to encourage all of you to read it.