Go Jess Go! By Deb Jenny

When my husband was in high school he got to drive one of two cars. The first was a beat-up old orange Opel, the back of the car filled at all times with newspapers to be hauled to recycling (very advanced for the 70’s, mind you), and a humiliating-to-a-teenager bumper sticker that boasted: I MAY BE SLOW BUT I GO GO GO! His other car was the family station wagon, the bumper of which was garnished with this teen-humbling ditty: DULCIMERS ARE FUN!

When I got to read Jess’ fabulous book, DRIVING SIDEWAYS,Driving Sideways I just kept thinking of my husband’s road trip cars each time Jess’ protagonist Leigh got back into her quintessential road trip car (a Saturn), continuing on her quirky, poignant and hilarious quest to “find” her much-revered organ donor. And that’s one of the fun things about this book—-we all have a lame car in our past and totally relate to the crazy junkets we undertook while behind the wheel of said clunkers. And Jess manages to take the classic road trip story and ratchet it up a notch with a compelling, heartfelt story that will leave you alternating between laughter and tears as Leigh finds her way in the great big world beyond Wisconsin.

One of the things i love about Driving Sideways is it is so reflective of the author’s personality: kind, loving, warm, funny, a little zany, and adventuresome. I know you’ll be glad you chose to spend some time with Jess and her characters in this wonderful book.

I’m off to pick up my very own copy!


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9 Replies to “Go Jess Go! By Deb Jenny”

  1. Jenny, you’re so sweet. I am going to console myself about not having a copy of Driving Sideways (yet) by telling you my lame car was a Dodge Reliant K car. It was a hand-me-down that went from my mom, to one brother, to another brother, to me. Needless to say, it was not in great shape by the time I got it, but it was good enough for me and my (now) husband to sit in endlessley when we were first dating, talking, holding hands, making plans and…well…doing other stuff. I hated that car most of the time, but it served me well, especially when it was parked and we were steaming up the windows.

  2. Oh, a Reliant K totally fits in the description! Very sweet, you two!
    My lame-o car was a Renault Alliance. The year AFTER it was car of the year (it was by then WORST car of the year). I called it the Appliance, as it was a toaster on wheels. Only toasters don’t gush transmission fluid all over the place as that thing did…

  3. Great post!

    I had two cars in high school. The very sporty Datsun 260 Z which was chronically in the shop (they only made them one year, gee, I wonder why) and the very utilitarian and horrifyingly ugly 1960 Chevy Impala convertible. The tank.

    It wasn’t so horrible when you could put the top down — you could pack 17 teenagers in that thing. When the top was up, it was the biggest piece of crap on the road.

    It always started, though…

    Congratulations Jess, we’re so proud of you!!!


  4. Our high school car that the kids drove was the 1970 Cadillac Coupe De Ville convertible. Talk about tanks–I became a masterful parallel parker since I learned on that thing. It was the ultimate high school party mobile, however, especially with the roof down (alas, limited time for that in Pittsburgh). My brothers beat the thing into the ground by the time I got to drive it, however–they four-wheeled that thing up steep city streets, over curbs, Lord knows what else they did with it…But it got the job done, and that’s all that mattered 😉

  5. Thanks Jenny!! I cracked up at the bumper stickers you mentioned. One of my girlfriends in college drove a giant brown boat with a bumper sticker reading “Foxy Grandma.” The horn always got stuck on that one, a la Little Miss Sunshine!

    (I drove an Eagle station wagon with wood grain paneling.)

  6. Ahhhh I had three cars in high school (kept dying) first a genuine pink caddy with fins, which a collector bought off me, second a very fun white and red cantrememberwhatitwas, with a push button transmission that wouldn’t go in reverse. I got myself in ALL sorts of Lucy situations because of that car!!

    But the third, and (sniff sniff) most lovely was my powder blue 67 mustang. OHHHH Why did I ever sell that car???

    Oh yes and for a while as a single mom I drove my aunt’s Lincoln Continental with the suicide doors. Or as we call it, Moby Car

    Don’t you love how we used to just bounce around inside cars like marbles when we were kids- no seatbelts, no airbags, basically Russian Roulette on wheels. And never mind those teenage years. We won’t go there. Suz

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