Review: Driving Lessons, by Zoe Fishman

About the book, Driving Lessons

Driving Lessons by Zoe Fishman

• Paperback: 336 pages
• Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks (April 8, 2014)

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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About the author, Zoe Fishman

Zoe Fishman

Zoe Fishman is the author of Balancing Acts and Saving Ruth. She lives in Atlanta, Georgia, with her husband and son.

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My Thoughts

In many ways, Sarah reminds me of me when I first left the San Francisco Bay area of California and moved to South Dakota, where I married my husband. My big move happened at the very dawn of our marriage, but after returning to California three years later, we moved to Texas during our tenth year of marriage, and I faced many of the same issues Sarah did: redefining my career, learning to live in a place where public transportation simply does not exist, and learning to fit into a culture that was vastly different from what I was accustomed to.

It’s for this reason that I identified with Sarah so much, even feeling a bit of envy when she realized she was pregnant (we have dogs, but no human children). She read like a real person to me, one I’d have loved to meet for coffee or sushi some afternoon.

All of the other characters were well-drawn as well. I particularly enjoyed Ray the driving instructor, and Sarah’s sweet husband, Josh. While the latter was not on very many pages, he reminded me very strongly of my own sweet, gentle, incredibly patient husband.

As to the novel itself, it is a shining example of what contemporary women’s fiction can be: laughter through tears, humor that comes from life, and characters who aren’t all either twenty-somethings in stilettos or older married women who hate their lives. In fact, reading this book felt like visiting a small town for a few days – you’re welcomed like family, but no one makes you feel bad when it’s time to leave.

I haven’t read any of Zoe Fishman’s other work, but if Driving Lessons is anything to judge by, I’m sure I’d love everything she writes.

Goes well withBBQ brisket, potato salad, and iced sweet tea.

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