Driven: A White-Knuckled Ride to Heartbreak and Back (Paperback)

Driven: A White-Knuckled Ride to Heartbreak and Back By Melissa Stephenson Cover Image
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Now in paperback, a “piercing and beautiful” (Domenica Ruta) memoir about one woman’s road to hope following the death of her troubled brother, told through the series of cars that accompanied her

Growing up in a blue-collar family in the Midwest, Melissa Stephenson longed for escape. Her wanderlust was an innate reaction to the powerful personalities around her, and came too from her desire to find a place in the world where her artistic ambitions wouldn’t be thwarted. She found in automobiles the promise of a future.

From a lineage of secondhand family cars of the late ’60s, to the Honda that carried her from Montana to Texas as her new marriage disintegrated, to the ’70s Ford she drove away from her brother’s house after he took his life (leaving Melissa the truck, a dog, and a few mix tapes), to the VW van she now uses to take her kids camping, she knows these cars better than she knows some of the people closest to her. Driven from grief and toward hope, Melissa reckons with what it means to lose a beloved sibling.

Driven is a powerful story of healing, for all who have had to look back at pain to find the way forward.

About the Author

MELISSA STEPHENSON earned her B.A. in English from the University of Montana and her M.F.A. in fiction from Texas State University. Her writing has appeared in publications such as The Rumpus, the Washington Post, ZYZZYVA, and Fourth Genre. Driven is her first book. She lives in Missoula, Montana, with her two kids.

Praise For…

“Wanderlust is instilled in Stephenson from a young age, and cars both enable her spirit of adventure and allow her to get at intangible emotions while dealing with very tangible objects…Moving…We need more stories from women like [this]…[who] crave new experiences and knowledge, and are frank about the compromises they have to make for their families.”—Outside    "Driven is an edgy memoir of cars, crises, and coming of age...[it's] worth reading for a quality more difficult to portray in dust jacket copy: being in the hands of a real writer and watching the mastery of craft on the page as [Stephenson] condenses and expands the moments of ordinary life into story, casting for insight and meaning...It's clear we're in the hands of a professional...[she] sets a scene so we feel like we’re inside her skin...Stephenson exploits the bread and butter of memoir — parsing childhood experiences and complicated family dynamics — but Driven also explores edgier, more experimental terrain...Both the irony, and the beauty, of this book is that it isn’t so much a story about her brother at all. This story is hers."—Texas Observer     "Reading Melissa Stephenson’s memoir Driven is like listening to a cool older cousin recount her version of your family history. The Missoula-based author references her own adventures (hitchhiking in Alaska, walking the Appalachian Trail solo) almost as asides, letting them quietly illustrate her strength of character without overtaking the main focus: her relationship with her troubled older brother, Matthew, and what his suicide at 28 revealed about the loved ones he left behind...Vividly specific [and] universal."—Missoula Independent   “It is the kind of busted knuckle-geekiness obsession Stephenson brings to her story, with humor and all-too-familiar pathos over simple details of any given automobile, that makes this book something special…Stephenson can flat-out write. She is a marvelous storyteller, with clean, simple prose that bears a surprising amount of emotional weight. Memoirs only work if the writer can make the reader care about their life — and that is far from automatic. Stephenson succeeds, and Driven is a debut to be proud of and a story, though often gut-wrenching, that many people will love.”—Missoulian   “For Melissa Stephenson, cars represented getting out of her hometown in Indiana and steering herself her toward a promising future. Her memoir touches on depression, suicide, grief, and alcoholism, and how through it all, she kept moving forward. Driven will take you on a ride — one that you’ll seriously enjoy and think about for years to come.”—Hello Giggles   "In a passionate memoir, Stephenson finds comfort and freedom in the cars that grounded the turbulence and restlessness of her life."—Shelf Awareness   “A compassionate and honest narrative.”—The Write Question, Montana Public Radio   “A coming-of-age memoir about wanderlust, grief, and perseverance, Stephenson’s first book packs an emotional wallop . . . Readers of grief memoirs will especially want to seek this out, but so should anyone looking for a story of finding strength in oneself.”—Booklist   “What a thrill to ride shotgun with Melissa Stephenson, ‘Werewolves of London’ blasting as she takes us along on a keen-eyed, big-hearted, and quintessentially American road-trip to self-discovery and a deeper understanding of her late, troubled, and charismatic older brother."—Rob Spillman, author of All Tomorrow’s Parties   "Melissa S —

Product Details
ISBN: 9781328588814
ISBN-10: 1328588815
Publisher: Mariner Books
Publication Date: June 18th, 2019
Pages: 272
Language: English